What is Peace Education?

 THE MONTESSORI APPROACH TO PEACE ON EARTH 
 

Preventing conflicts is the work of politics; establishing peace is the work of education.”—Maria Montessori, Education and Peace


The idea of peace education in the Montessori classroom is unique in our modern education system. Dr. Montessori pioneered this approach to world peace as she developed the Montessori method of education and it is still in practice in Montessori classrooms across the globe. As Montessorians, we believe that “The child is both a hope and promise of mankind,” and that through the peace curriculum, we can transform education from a lecture to “the best weapon for peace.” 

 

Montessori’s vision is executed in a number of ways in the classroom. Maybe you’ve heard about the “peace area” or the “peace rose” or the “cultural curriculum.” We’ll touch on these shortly. But, let’s start with the first step and a step that every parent or child care giver can use.

Self-knowledge and Introspection

What do I mean? Well, before we can guide our children toward peace, conflict resolution or appreciation of others, we have to embrace these principles for ourselves. Can we teach what we don’t know? Can we show what we don’t have? Nope. So, Montessori stressed the preparation of the teacher and the preparation of the environment. If the adults in a child’s life have a strong foundation in these principles, they will be strong examples and the child will learn by observing and mimicking the behaviors they see. This fundamental element of Montessori education - modeling materials for the learner - is supplemented with the “Peace Area,” Peace Rose,” and Cultural Continent curriculum. 

 

The Peace Area

In each classroom, there is a designated area where a student can go to find peace, to calm himself or to use the “peace rose” with a fellow student. It can be a table with a chair and various objects that the teacher rotates and which the students enjoy exploring, for example, shells, crystals, a fountain, a special book, etc.

 

 

 

The Peace Rose

Using a Peace Rose, an artificial flower, crocheted flower like this one, or any other designated object to represent conflict resolution is a key component of Montessori peace education. When a student feels hurt or upset about the choice of a fellow student or even a teacher, they are directed to the peace area and shown how to use the peace rose. They take the peace rose to the other student and tell them what choice hurt them. Then they give the peace rose to the other student who has the chance to explain their choice or offer an apology or ask how they can help the other student feel better. They are never forced to apologize but in using the peace rose, the teacher helps guide the students through dialogue about the problem and helps them build the ability to talk to someone that they are upset with.



The Cultural Continent Curriculum

Though not explicit, the Cultural curriculum Continent studies are designed to acquaint the students with others’ cultures, beliefs, practices and differences. The aim is to cultivate appreciation of others instead of fear or dislike. Helping our children realize that there are many ways to “do life” can help them be curious about others and not fearful of our differences.



As Montessori said,

Stay tuned for our upcoming article - Peace Education: 5 Practices to Raising a More Peaceful Child - for tips on how to use Montessori Peace education at home!

 

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