By Cristel Ruiz, M.Ed.
TIES Alum ‘18Reflection, observation, pausing, and sitting in the silence… these practices nurture our spirit and broaden our mind’s capacity for understanding. They also help us see the cycles and interconnections in the world around us. As a recent TIES graduate, reflecting on the last 18 months of study and dialogue, I’m seeing this educational journey come full-circle.

In my initial application essay to TIES, I wrote: “…there is a depth of Montessori knowledge that I am only just approaching…the focus on Montessori as not only education, but also as a philosophy for life, drew me to investigate TIES’ Montessori Master of Education.  I sincerely appreciate that while students are working independently from different parts of the country, or the world, they are not working alone. The collaborative aspect of the program will bring a richness not found in many online mediums of study.” At this point of the conclusion of my TIES journey, these words ring even more true.

Being part of the TIES program brought together many aspects of my personal education and expanded them further, mirroring what philosopher David Bohm said in his 1996 book On Dialogue that “…experience, knowledge, thought, emotion, practice [are] all one process.” The key difference in the TIES curriculum exists in the incorporation of many scientific and world views to enhance our understanding of Montessori philosophy and our collective role as educators.

As scientist and author Fritjof Capra reminds us in his 1996 book, The Web of Life,  “…the appropriate way of approaching nature to learn about her complexity and beauty is not through domination and control, but through respect, cooperation, and dialogue.” Perhaps within the TIES program we discover something similar: the personal transformation that occurs when one is confronted by new ideas and challenged by one’s assumptions not only strengthens our understanding of education and the natural world, but also of ourselves.

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