AMI President's Message 2023

Tuesday 10th January 2023

Dear Friends, 

Warm greetings from a very hot and sunny South Africa. As I pen this message on our National Day of Reconciliation, on which we strive actively to promote harmony in a land with such a difficult history, a challenging present and an uncertain future, I am reminded that in some parts of our world there is a dark chill that emanates from frosted hearts, promoting war, division, violence and self-advancement at the cost of all else, and of all others. Despite this darkness, this season also marks a time of light and life and it seems only fitting that this President’s greeting will be a humanizing message of hope, of peace and of goodwill to all for the New Year of life that lies ahead in 2023.

On Friday 6 January, last week, the AMI Talk celebrated the opening of the first Casa dei Bambini in 1907. It coincided with the Epiphany, which besides referring to a moment of great revelation, also entails a feast with much fun. Celebrated in my father’s homeland of Switzerland as “Three Kings’ Day”, a mini king is inserted into a specially made King’s cake. Whomsoever is lucky enough to score that piece of cake becomes King of the House, for one day. I remember us revelling in being able to turn tables on the adults. Perhaps, as children ourselves, we were already, albeit unconsciously, spreading the Montessori motto of helping children to do it for themselves! 

The link between the first Montessori Children’s House opening on this day and “helping children to do it for themselves” represents an incredible epiphany for humanity. Young people who have the benefit of a prepared environment will themselves spread peace and goodwill, serving as agents of positive change. 

Maria Montessori believed in an unbreakable bond between education and peace and spent her life tirelessly promoting this agenda. She abhorred violence and strove to stand up for the rights of marginalized groups such as children, youth and women whilst championing peace for the world. This same spirit inspires and motivates us, as the Association Montessori Internationale, to work determinedly for a better world today, tomorrow and consistently thereafter. 

I believe that the old saying, “If you want Peace, prepare for war”, should be replaced by a Montessori-inspired notion, “If you want Peace, prepare the Child”. Prepared children become prepared adults and show time and again how they can make a meaningful difference, in their homes and families, in personal friendship networks and in professional, collegial or social communities, in society at large and in the world. We should not be shy about this. 

It is my pleasure to salute our educators, administrators, communities, learners and associates who continue, despite all odds, to share in shining a light on healthy and holistic human development across the lifespan, and beyond this to sustaining development and the very earth upon which we are blessed to live. 

On behalf of our Board, I would like to extend our very best wishes for a bright and blessed 2023 to our AMI members, to the entire Montessori community and to all the individuals and organisations with whom we are privileged to interact. May we be inspired to live a life of light and love that radiates peace and justice, as we invite young people to be the kings and queens of our hearts and our homes! 

Warm regards,
Alain Tschudin
Association Montessori Internationale

Alain Tschudin