The black outlines of cats on white sheets of paper, a group of students at the Montessori School of Aberdeen is told, should be colored gray if they are above the table. The felines below the table are to be colored brown, the kids are told.

Understanding, the youngsters reach for the appropriate-colored pencils and crayons.

The children weren’t instructed in English. Instead, their teacher gave them directions in Spanish.

“Miss Elizabeth (Kiesz) grew up in Mexico,” Montessori School director Susan Dalager said. “She came in and introduced herself as a native of Mexico, and she brought things with her that came from her home country.”

Learning languages and about other cultures is a big part of the Montessori philosophy, Dalager said.

“Doctor Montessori was also into peace education,” Dalager said. “I think peace education begins with an understanding of different people from different places around the world.”

Knowing that everyone is different and that’s OK is a big reason that Montessori, the person, wanted to teach different cultures to children, Dalager said. Understanding that, she said, students can know how to live harmoniously with other people.

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