The Liberty Bell

photo (4)The Liberty Bell, a symbol of freedom and “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” This month I attended the annual American Montessori Society’s conference in Philadelphia. With thousands in attendance, I met Montessorians from around the world and as far away as Beijing. To be apart of this global community of educators, dedicated to Montessori education, was awe inspiring.

During my visit I had the opportunity to see the Liberty Bell in Independence Square. http://www.nps.gov/inde/learn/historyculture/stories-libertybell.htm

The symbolism of this bell and the one I ring each day in my classroom struck me as a powerful intersection of ideals. Each bell represents freedom. Liberty. Independence.

Children in a Montessori classroom have the freedom to pursue their own learning, which increases their autonomy and drive to learn. When given developmentally appropriate lessons, a young child is empowered to chart his or her own course and to develop his innate gifts. He may choose which lesson he would like to begin with each day. This frees the child’s mind. He can set learning goals for himself and take ownership of his own discoveries. He becomes self actualized and discovers the true joy in learning. This increases his independence and ability to do for himself. Freedom. Liberty. Independence.

Who doesn’t love what they own? It is his or her work. It is not mine. They own their work and it is deeply important to them. This is what first drew me to Montessori many years ago. I continue to see the beauty of this method play out everyday in the classroom.

Tracia Swartwout, M. Ed.

From American Montessori Society:

“Life. Liberty. Montessori!”
The new education has as its primary aim the discovery and freeing of the child,” Maria Montessori wrote. As we gather this year in Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love and a birthplace of American independence, we celebrate the respect for discovery and freedom that drives Montessori education. Just as the American founders used a revolutionary idea to form a new nation, Montessorians around the world are bringing our own revolutionary thinking to broken models of education.