We recognize John Dewey’s significant contributions to democratic theory but not Maria Montessori’s, and it is my hope that I can help to right that wrong, for Montessori’s school design, pedagogy, and curriculum strongly support the themes of shared responsibility, authority, and identity that I recommend for a pluralistic, relational democratic theory and educational model (Thayer-Bacon, 2008). Her educational plans serve as an illustration of my democratic theory even though her individual child-centered philosophy of education is more in agreement with Rousseau’s (1970) in many ways, someone whom I have argued developed a democratic theory that undermines the possibilities of democracies (Thayer-Bacon, 2006). Teaching in a Montessori school gave me a way to experience a pedagogical approach that recognizes the importance of cultural diversity, while helping children learn how to be active, engaged, critically aware, self-assured, -directed, and -disciplined citizens of democracies-always-in-the-making. I share Montessori’s hope that through education we can help more and more children grow up in a world that welcomes them and what they have to offer and helps them learn how to live in peace together.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/barbara_thayer-bacon/5/