We hardly write or receive letters any more. Life has moved on and we now have new and instant ways of communicating with one another. A little trip down memory lane takes us to a time when to hear from a loved one you waited for a postman who brought a letter with the familiar handwriting and a colourful postage stamp. Postage stamps have always honoured the contributions of those who served society, whose work made a difference to the lives of others.
In 1970, on the occasion of Dr. Montessori’s 100th birth anniversary on August 31, the Government of India released a postage stamp honouring her life and work. The first day cover carried a quote by Dr. Maria Montessori “Non-violence towards the child is the basis and the path of Education as a help to Life.”
The General Assembly of the United Nations had declared 1970 the International Education Year. The UN believed that this would focus world attention on the crisis in education. The 20 paisa Montessori stamp included a pertinent reference to the International Education Year 1970.
51 years have gone by since the stamp was released and nothing much has changed. Education is still in crisis. Montessori schools still swim against current trends in education. Common test-oriented, syllabus-centred, memory based educational practices remain distant from the increasing scientific evidence about the child’s physical and psychological development and the need for experiential learning. A greater reach of Montessori’s revolutional educational ideas that support children from the beginning of life can turn the tide. To mark 150 years this will be a worthy way to honour Maria Montessori and her contribution to the field of education.