Montessori Activism: Advocating for others

In a previous post I defined social activism and listed several significant activism movements.

Most activism movements are begun and are driven by a group or class of people advocating for their own rights and needs.

  • Women’s Rights
  • Racial Equality
  • Gay Rights
  • Labor Movement
  • Most national independence movements (both violent and peaceful)

Additional support from outsiders may contribute to success for these movements, but the initiating and driving actors behind the movement are members of the group itself.

Environmentalism presents an atypical activism movement because the environment cannot advocate for itself.  The environment cannot raise its issues, speak out, march on the capital, appeal to lawmakers, stage a sit in, shame its oppressors, create a facebook page, or start a petition.  The environment, by itself, is powerless in the social arena.

Montessori activism, like the environmental movement,  advocates for the rights of a powerless group.  Montessori activism advocates for the rights of children, who are unable to advocate for themselves.

It seems to me that in the last few decades the environmental movement has tipped over and become popular in the mainstream.  As one indicator we can see environmental jargon in the everyday conversation, including

  • Green
  • Eco-Friendly
  • Reduce – Reuse – Recycle
  • Carbon Footprint
  • Carbon Emissions
  • Carbon Trade
  • Organic
  • Alternative Energy
  • Alternative Fuels
  • Fossil Fuels
  • Hybrids
  • Greywater
  • Biodegradeable
  • Global Warming
  • Climate Change
  • Greenhouse Effect

The Montessori movement is not nearly as well known or understood as the environmental movement. Consider a world in which these terms were part of everyday conversation

  • Absorbent Mind
  • Sensitive Periods
  • Planes of Development
  • Human Needs and Tendencies
  • Normalization
  • Prepared Environment
  • Prepared Adult

I think the Montessori movement might learn from the lessons of the Environmental movement which as been more successful at bringing mainstream attention to a silent group.

External conditions can influence the success of a movement, for example the climate change crisis has brought environmentalism to the attention of the world.  The children’s rights (Montessori) movement may not be able to follow the exact path laid out by the environmental movement due to different external conditions, but we may be able to find similarities such as the high stakes testing crisis.


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