Beyond Grace and Courtesy: Where Do We Start?
Sheri L.Bishop, M.Ed
Maria Montessori believed that world peace could be attained if we teach peace to our students and children; in that we all have the same fundamental needs (food, shelter, clothing...) but that we as people obtain them differently according to our environments, not the color of our skin. Grace and Courtesy lessons are the foundation of the Montessori Peace curriculum. Unfortunately, the reality of our society is that the color of one’s skin can be the basis for significant bias as humans attempt to grow and develop. Prejudice and discrimination exist in our institutions, homes, and even our hearts. Children are sensitive to social cues quite early. Overt and implicit racial, cultural, and gender biases that are introduced to young children by adults, peers, and the media often transfer from one generation to the next. Achieving true education for peace in the Montessori classrooms leads us to go beyond grace and courtesy to help children develop an understanding of others unlike themselves. Join Sheri Bishop to discuss the first steps toward implementing an Anti-Bias/Anti-Racist curriculum.
Sheri Bishop is a Montessori Elementary Guide committed to social justice and upholding the Montessori ideal that children from all over the world, and from of all socioeconomic levels can exhibit, “a new level of humanity”. She completed her Association of Montessori International (AMI) elementary certification at the Montessori Institute of Atlanta in 2014 and earned her Masters of Education degree in Montessori Elementary Education at Loyola University in Baltimore, MD in 2015. She currently teaches at Hampton Roads International Montessori School in Newport News, VA. She was elected as one of the 2017 founding members of the Montessori for Social Justice Board and over the last two years has worked on the organizations’ Strategic Planning, Conference Planning, and Anti-Racist/Anti-Bias Rubric Development Committees. Sheri also has worked with the Magnolia Montessori for All (MFA) Codification Committee in Austin, Texas, to help guide the development and codification of tools that will support the growth of the Montessori for All Movement. Prior to being trained as a Montessori guide, Sheri had a long career as a Registered Dietitian and spent the last 15 years of her clinical career practicing in hospital pediatric and neonatal intensive care environments. She is married to Rick Bishop and they have 2 boys that have had lengthy school careers as Montessori students.