Establishing enduring peace is the work of education; all politics can do is keep us out of the war.” – Dr. Maria Montessori
Last week, Alcuin celebrated the International Day of Peace, also known as World Peace Day. A United Nations-sanctioned holiday observed annually on September 21st, it is a day that aims to reduce violence and strengthen the ideals of peace worldwide. And did you know it is a perfect complement to Montessori’s Peace Education?
A lifelong pacifist, Dr. Maria Montessori believed that by raising generations of children who embraced living respectfully and having peaceful lives, they would contribute to future world peace. Dr. Montessori felt that with each passing generation, the hope for a more peaceful world grew and grew. After spending a lifetime working with children and developing her pedagogy, She understood the link between the education of our younger generations and world peace. However, this growth and evolution doesn’t just happen naturally. Dr. Montessori believed that children could contribute to peace, global citizenship, social justice, equity, and equality, but they must be shown lessons to create this change. We must aid the child in their commitment to peace and understanding.
At Alcuin, peace education is a major component of the classroom as the ideals of peace are interwoven throughout the curriculum and the space from Grace and Courtesy to the peace table to conflict resolution skills. For instance, peace can begin at the youngest ages with simple lessons such as greeting others, saying please and thank you, or tending to classroom pets and plants. Adults model peaceful and respectful behavior in the classroom, and older children serve as leaders and role models for younger children. Peace is studied more in-depth and abstractly with elementary and middle school children as they learn about cultures, social justice, equity, equality, volunteerism, and fundamental human rights.
During the International Day of Peace, the Primary, Elementary, and Middle School children gathered to sing songs for peace, designed art and banners, while at our Roosevelt Campus, our Toddlers had a peace parade, and our Infants enjoyed songs centered around peace. And while this holiday is celebrated across the globe, we know that striving for peace is a daily endeavor. We remember that many small steps can create a greater positive change.
In 1937, the Sixth International Montessori Congress was held in Copenhagen, with the event theme being “Educate for Peace.” During the conference, Dr. Montessori delivered several lectures, which became the foundation for her book Education and Peace. It is in Education and Peace where Dr. Montessori stated:
“The child is capable of developing and giving us tangible proof of the possibility of a better humanity. He has shown us the true process of construction of the human being. We have seen children totally change as they acquire a love for things and as their sense of order, discipline, and self-control develops within them.... The child is both a hope and a promise for mankind.”
Dr. Montessori was nominated six times for the Nobel Peace Prize, and while she did not receive the award, we imagine she would be thrilled at the legacy her peaceful revolution has flourished.
A blog by various Alcuin staff members.