The Importance of Contribution from Local to Global Communities

By Rose Langridge – Humanities & English teacher

“The child, that ‘forgotten citizen’, must be appreciated in accordance with his true value” – Maria Montessori Education and Peace, p. 38

I am always brought to this idea when the level three social studies class embarks on their social campaign to change policies. This year has been no different. 

They decided to focus on the issue of food waste in the Hutt Valley and aimed for curbside collection. They believe that we need to be caretakers for future generations. We can not have a peaceful world if we do not preserve the place we call home. 

They decided on three courses of action

  1. Creating a petition (the link is they felt they could reach a wider group of people quickly relying on social media.
    2. Doing flyer drops in their own neighbourhoods to connect with their own communities.
    3. Writing letters to members of the Hutt City Council and the Upper Hutt City Council. 
  2. They did this as they felt that this was the best way to access the people who were in the position to discuss the policies in place and make changes. 

They completed all their actions and got a response from many politicians. Josh Briggs came in to discuss their proposal with them. They were invited to speak at the next committee meeting. Three members of the group went along and took part they wrote an exceptionally well-versed argument. The councillors were incredibly impressed with their ideas. It was apparent that they had a solid grasp of the issue that was very much current and future-focused.

Having the opportunity to contribute to this process and seeing the impact that they can have was very powerful for them. They were able to have a voice in a democratic process. 

I kept thinking about them whilst I was completing the facilitator training for the Montessori Model United Nations last week. This course gives the student participants a taste of how decisions are made and how delegates from countries from all over the world meet and discuss issues impacting all countries. The MMUN began in 2006 with 200 students. Since then hundreds of schools and thousands of participants join every year. Judith Cunningham founded MMUN to help children find their voices and work to Implement Maria Montessori’s dream of world peace. 

From seeing akonga working with their local council to those who have travelled to New York and Rome as well as participating in MMUN events online it is very easy to see Maria’s dream coming into play. Education leads to peace. It is big work and essential to our future. 

As Maria said: “An education capable of saving humanity is no small undertaking; it involves the spiritual development of man, the enhancement of his value as an individual, and the preparation of young people to understand the times in which they live.” – Maria Montessori Education and Peace, p. 30