Peace education is inherent in every level of the Montessori curriculum. Generally defined, peace education is the process of acquiring the values, the knowledge, and developing attitudes, skills, and behaviors to live in harmony with oneself, others and with the natural environment.
What’s that Hum?
When you visit a Montessori classroom, you may marvel at how they seem to have a “hum” to them. At Norbeck Montessori, the children are our classroom are joyful, relaxed, and happy. Children are encouraged to choose lessons and activities that they enjoy as long as it is age and level appropriate. As the children freely move about the classroom, they are interacting with their peers. The role of the teacher in our classrooms is to observe the children’s interests and needs of each child, make sure the children are engaged, connected children to the curated environment, and protect their work once they are immersed in concentration. The “hum” you experience in when visiting a Montessori classroom is the sound of purpose, satisfaction, and joy. We simply love it!
But this all doesn’t happen magically! It is our teachers and assistance that help protect children’s work by showing classmates how to watch a peer do their work, how to walk around a work rug, or how to interrupt politely. It is through ongoing Grace and Courtesy presentations that children gain the tools for peacefully resolving conflicts and ways to cultivate a peaceful and productive environment for engaged learning.
A Framework for Peace
Going hand-in-hand with Norbeck Montessori’s peace education is our Grace & Courtesy curriculum. Our children from our Transitional Two’s to Primary Preschool and Kindergarten program practice simple lessons. These lessons are based respect for others, self, and the environment. Below is a sample of elements related to our Peace Education.
A Sampling of Grace & Courtesy Lessons
- How to walk around a students work rug
- How to greet someone
- How and when to say “excuse me”
- How to ask for help from a teacher and/or friend
- What to say if someone says “you’re not my friend”
- How to tell someone how you are feeling; sad, happy, angry, or frustrated
- How to watch someone do work
- How to clean up your snack and or lunch
- What to do if you’re really angry
- How to agree to disagree
- Encourage donating to Norbeck Montessori’s quarterly donation drives
How can parents continue teaching Peace Education at home?
Peace truly begins at home. The basics of peace are taught through a child’s’ day-to-day environment.
- Model empathy. We know that children are great imitators of our behavior. When children are surrounded by people who love them and respond to them with authentic empathy, they will respond this way to others.
- Model respect for all cultures and all people. Use The Golden Rule to guide you, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Dispel stereotyping by viewing each person as worthy of respect.
- Find peace in nature. Get outside, go for walks, or simply let them explore nature in their own way. Children often seek out a secret outdoor space, even if it’s a corner of the backyard. Respect their need for private exploration and inner reflection that nature inspires.
- Carve out time for creative free play. Children at any age need plenty of time for unstructured, self-directed play. Make-believe play reduces aggression and increased empathy in children. It is a time that children work through their feelings of fear and sadness, to find comfort, and to explore the world and develop relationships.
- Establish a “Family Foundation”. Create a “Piggy-Bank” for donations – a miniature family foundation. Encourage family and friends to add money to the bank. This is a wonderful way to introduce children to giving. When the time is right, choose a charity together, maybe one that has personal meaning for the family.
Support and encourage children to become involved with local needs and promote social change around the globe. Children benefit enormously from volunteering at animal shelters, hospitals, nursing homes, soup kitchens, and the like. Inspire children to learn about the world outside their own experiences through charities reaching abroad, show them how to make a positive impact on a global scale. One simple way is to encourage your child to create their own peace prayers, poems, and art, share it on social media with #JoinTogether.