Jane Goodall, Roots and Shoots

We are delighted to announce a new partnership between Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots and Montessori St Nicholas. Collaborative projects will look to unify the philosophies between Jane Goodall and the Montessori approach.

Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots began in 1991 with sixteen Tanzanian High School students. They were concerned about issues such as the destruction of the coral reef by illegal dynamiting; poaching in the wildlife parks and the lack of government support to prevent it; minimal help for street children; ill treatment of animals in markets; lack of environmental education in schools; and pollution of their rivers. Dr Jane suggested that, working together, they might be able to take action. After discussion, the students went back to their respective schools and formed groups with all those who shared their concerns. Thus Roots & Shoots (R&S) was born in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

Today, it is a global network of young people of all ages in nearly 100 countries, who become involved in hands-on projects of their choosing; for their local community, for animals and for the environment. Members range from pre-schoolers to university students, and an increasing numbers of adults. There are an estimated 150,000 groups around the world acting together and making a monumental change.

The main message is “Every single one of us matters and makes an impact – every single day. And we have a choice what sort of impact we will make”, with an overall theme of learning to live in peace and harmony. Thus, breaking down barriers between nations, religions, cultures, old and young, rich and poor, and between humans and the natural world.

The extraordinary difference our young people are making around the world include some tackling long term projects such as removing invasive species from an area of prairie in Texas, or a wetland in Taiwan. There is a lot of tree planting. Some have changed laws, such as a group from Santa Monica who were instrumental in banning plastic bags in California, USA. Many schools grow vegetables without chemical pesticides. Some volunteer in shelters – for the homeless, for dogs and cats. They raise money for earthquake or hurricane or war victims in other countries, or become a Chimp Guardian and help the Jane Goodall Institute (JGI) care for hundreds of orphan chimpanzees. 

“I am very excited about our recent partnership with Montessori St Nicholas charity. Our philosophy fits beautifully into successful Montessori teaching practices, which celebrate the ‘holistic’ approach of young people as a whole being interconnected with our planet and the world around them. I look forward to spreading our message to the Montessori community to reach more youngsters in all walks of life through their dedicated network of students, teachers, and families.” Dr Jane Goodall

“As CEO of Montessori St Nicholas and a former Trustee of the Jane Goodall Institute in the UK, I am as enthusiastic as Dr Goodall about the potential of the new partnership we have formed. I am sure that the alignment in the philosophies of Dr Goodall and Maria Montessori, which the partnership will actively support, is going to spread the understanding and social impact of the child as an agent of change.” Leonor Stjepic

Dr Montessori also understood the importance of taking children outside into their natural environment. She believed that bringing natural objects into the classroom has value, but taking children outside helps them form a meaningful relationship with those objects in their natural environment. When the child is outside, all of their senses are stimulated. Surrounded by the big outdoors, children can explore by touching, seeing, hearing, and when safe, even tasting. This awakens the senses and calls the child to explore, creating a sense of awe and wonder that will be important throughout her life.

Given such synergy between her vision and Dr Jane Goodall’s, a partnership between JGI and MSN was felt to be a perfect fit.

Jane Goodall, Roots and Shoots