“The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.” These words from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. summarize the purpose of schooling. Good schools unlock a child’s potential for cognitive thought while cultivating those characteristics that make them into good people. Maria Montessori understood this well and would have agreed with Dr. King; however, she would have added that the function of education would need to lead to a singular goal: to achieve world peace. It is important to clarify here that Maria Montessori was developing her methods during a time of global unrest and war. She believed that her approach not only unlocked a child’s intellectual potential but also their ability to be compassionate, caring, and kind.
How would each school answer the question: “What is their primary function or goal in educating children?” Unfortunately, too many schools are focused solely on raising test scores and achievement levels; they focus on the product instead of the process. At FWM, our primary goal can be summed up in FWM’s mission which is eight words in length: “We cultivate compassion, confidence, and joy of learning.” We have seen that one of the key by-products of our mission has been providing a challenging, academic program that, in the words of Dr. King, “teaches children to think intensively and to think critically.” Like Dr. King, we believe that intelligence plus character are the recipe for true education.