by Ayca Diriksoy, 2020 TIES Graduate
Excerpted from her Culminating Project:
Exploring Learning Possibilities and the Integrative Structure of Life
through Mindfulness and Montessori Education
I have found that observing the present moment with clear, non-judging attention gives the space to explore the mind’s natural balance and discernment which have been there waiting to unfold. In life, where learning cannot be separated from the environment, connecting all life experiences with curiosity could transform this curiosity into insightful creative learning experiences, in which one might find something unique to contribute to the world.
Serving the children so that they can construct themselves as wholesome beings, who find their own places in alignment to their cosmic task on their life journey seems to be a large part of “mindful” Montessori education. Therefore, being a Montessori guide would mean being a conscious observer of each child and the learning environment, as well as being aware of the integrated Montessori philosophy and educational approach.
During the first six years of life, the period Maria Montessori called the absorbent mind, the environment has a profound effect on the way children learn, grow, and build their reasoning mechanisms. As an adult learner, it has been quite apparent that the mindful path that I have stepped into has sometimes meant digging into my childhood and unraveling the experiences that have constructed the person I am today. This has meant becoming aware of my beliefs and assumptions, good or bad, small or big, and the ways they construct my reality and to some extent, the reality of others. Therefore, approaching life with a beginner’s mind often seems challenging; it includes facing fears, welcoming tears, going through one’s choices, sitting in the midst of the chaotic dynamics of many emerging moments, and being patient with these creative dimensions.
Realizing what makes oneself unique, might pave the way for appreciating and cherishing what makes others special. This is a perspective that I would like to keep while guiding the children. I endeavour to step into the classroom learning environment with a clear mind and bare eyes, being aware that I am a beginner who is just being imperfectly mindful. I intend to celebrate the imperfections that make each of us delightfully human.