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Montessori Matters | Windows & MirrorsWashington Montessori School
New Preston, Connecticut

Montessori Matters | Windows & Mirrors

Windows & Mirrors Book Collection at WMS

How do you feel when you see yourself reflected in the world around you? And what do you learn when you learn about a culture or experience that is new to you?

The new “Windows and Mirrors at WMS” book collection, currently on display in our front hall, invites you and your children to joyfully experience both of those moments of recognition and learning. This collection continues our efforts to intentionally diversify the identities represented in our children’s literature collection.

Expect to see books with characters of all races, religions, family structures, gender identities and nations. Please also expect that your culture and your family will be mirrored here, and that you and your children will gain windows into the cultures and families of your children’s classmates. And if you don’t see your family or your child reflected in the mirrors of our collection, we ask that you let us know. We want every child to know that he, she, or they are a valued member of the rich fabric of the many cultures that make up our world.

“Windows and Mirrors” is a term coined nearly 30 years ago by the scholar Dr. Rudine Sims Bishop in a seminal essay. She describes the impact of children’s literature on students’ sense of identity. She spoke of “Windows” that allow children to experience cultures and identities that are different from their own, and “Mirrors,” books that reflect and affirm what is familiar.

As we Montessorians know, both kinds of books are essential for all children. Over a hundred years ago, Montessori understood that children learn best when their identities and needs are affirmed and they can explore the wide range of human experiences. She described Fundamental Human Needs and encouraged children to explore how those needs are met across time and space. Her peace mission depended on children understanding their own value and also the deep and enduring value of the lives of other people.

This month, the collection features five books illustrated by Brooklyn illustrator Sean Qualls, and his reminder, printed on a tote bag, that in learning we seek “Progress, not Perfection.” As we add more books to our collection, we will feature them in weekly newsletters. Please make yourself comfortable on the green sofa, sit down with your child (or on your own!) to enjoy.


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