Greystone House Montessori Schools Houston, Texas. Child care Montessori provider in Champions, The Woodlands, Spring Texas Greystone House Montessori Schools Houston
Editorial Archives
As concerned citizens and advocating parents, we wrestle with questions of how we develop our children so all are contributing to their fullest potential. There are several qualities essential to a true democratic education:

• Engaged, relevant, socially responsible learning – A democratic education seeks to develop critical, empowered citizens who understand the complex issues in their world. When learning is made meaningful and relevant, powerful links – emotional, moral, and ethical as well as intellectual relationships – are forged between the child and the world. Learning is not abstract, distant, and dry but is engaged in the daily life and the real social and cultural problems of the larger community.

• Cooperation within a supportive and caring community – While all of us are concerned with personal excellence, democratic educators create a climate in which students help each other develop their unique strengths and overcome their weaknesses. Positive psychology is a new buzzword that is extremely powerful. Everyone can encourage everyone to question, to think, and to seek answers to our most trying problems.

• Accommodation of diverse learning styles – The assembly line model of schooling forces learning into too rigid a mold. Children whose styles of learning, energy levels, or preferred modes of intelligence do not fit this mold and are labeled “at risk”, “learning disabled”, “hyperactive”, or channeled into “slow” or “gifted” tracks with other misfits. A democratic community of learners, in contrast, welcomes the diverse experiences and perceptions that its members can contribute. Diversity is seen as enriching everyone’s learning experiences rather than a threat to an arbitrary standard of normalcy.

• Celebration of cultural diversity – Different cultural, ethnic, linguistic, and racial backgrounds represent authentic expressions of human experience, and hence are worthy of respect, understanding, and appreciation. A democratic education does not require total relativism in respect to moral and ethical issues, but it does caution against the opposite extreme – taking one’s own culture as an absolute standard by which to judge others.

As much as we might agree with lofty ideals, we must begin the road toward excellent education by taking the first step. We can begin by defining specific steps to incorporate these concepts into our classrooms and our homes. We can work with each other to inspire and encourage us all toward excellence. We can challenge each other to do the hard work that excellent is. Instead of asking whose fault it is, we can ask what should be done, what could be done, and move toward that goal together.