Maria Montessori was a citizen of the world. Her timeless and enduring work shows us that children nurtured in body, mind, and spirit, would guide humanity toward a more peaceful world. Dedicating her life to the spiritual renewal of humanity through the child, her vision was based on creating an environment where children could fully realize their potentials as individuals and members of communities. As Montessori wrote in The Secret of Childhood, “It is the spirit of the child that can determine the course of human progress and lead it perhaps even to a higher form of civilization.”
Peace education in a Montessori classroom begins with being sincere and vulnerable. Sharing stories and acknowledging the fact that everybody makes mistakes, but the beauty lies in accepting it and working towards making the situation better.
As a part of the peace curriculum we revisited some of our grace and courtesy lessons. We reminded ourselves that we are living in a community and we need to treat people with respect, kindness and love. We also reminded ourselves that we are sharing resources with others and we need to live in harmony with plants and animals. Children learnt about `The Inukshuk’, that are the stone figures that represent a point of reference, a marker for travel routes, fishing places, camps, hunting grounds and food cache. It is a representation of a product of cooperation, teaching us that as good as our individual efforts may be, only together can we do greater things and bring peace.
All through the peace unit we read stories about peaceful heroes and also read about how some children were making a difference in the world.
We talked to our children about our love light and how sometimes hard feelings cover our love light. At those times we may get mad, sad, angry or frustrated. To make our love light shine back again, we can either take three deep breaths; do silence; meditation or yoga. We worked with children on another peace tool called pebble meditation. Children collected four pebbles for meditation and made peace bags for their pebbles. Meditation takes practice and it is hard for our young friends to do it. But it was our attempt to sow seeds of good thought and practice.