Everyone wants their child to grow up to become a “nice” person: considerate, helpful respectful, honorable, empathetic, and so on. And surely the world needs more people like this. Dr. Maria Montessori, in her book “Education and Peace”, talked about how peaceful children, people, are created. She said that peace will not come about by governments signing peace treaties because peace needs to be a bottom-up process, not a top-down one.
So where do nice people come from? Peaceful people? Generous people?
Let’s focus on generosity.
Children learn from their environment. If they are surrounded by a culture that demonstrates and celebrates being generous, they will absorb that as they construct the person they will be. Generosity can be about helping and giving, and it can be about understanding and benevolence: giving the benefit of the doubt, not being critical of others or looking to assign blame.
When Montessori schools involve children in charity events and model giving donations, it also supports the creation of a generous soul. Stepping Stone Montessori School recently held the Rise & Drive charity collection and festival and children (toddlers and primary) from the school participated and saw first-hand what it looks like to help others.
Montessori environments honor each child, each person; and the beginnings of generosity are cultivated there. These environments show the child that they are in charge of themselves, that they can make a difference with the choices they make. Montessori children see on a daily basis the fruits of generosity and rise up to become generous people themselves. It’s not preached or “taught” in a lesson, it’s just how things are done in the environment.