Peace Education

“An education capable of saving humanity is no small undertaking; it involves the spiritual development of man, the enhancement of his value as an individual, and the preparation of young people to understand the times in which they live.”

-Dr. Maria Montessori

June 2020

Dear MCS Community,

These past few weeks of protests and demonstrations in response to the death of George Floyd has given us all pause. As we watch these events unfold, we can reflect on our own actions and what we can do to create the kind of world we all want to live in, one with a foundation of respect, equity and diversity.

Here at MCS, our mission is to provide educational environments that foster independent, compassionate, respectful, life-long learners who will become positive forces to care for and transform our world. We have never needed this more than today. One of our core values is “Respect for All.” This belief is at the heart of Montessori philosophy at MCS, where we believe that the work we do daily in helping our students reach their full potential academically, socially, physically and emotionally will lead to the development of global citizens who not only respect all cultures, but remain curious and open to all racial and ethnic minority groups of the world.

Our peace curriculum, which is practiced in all of our environments, encourages students to listen to their peers and communicate honestly and earnestly with one another to reach peaceful solutions to their conflicts. We encourage our students to speak their minds, and we listen to their ideas and opinions, allowing them to play a major part in their own learning and social development, building their independence and confidence as they grow into their adolescent and young adult lives.

Over the next several months, we will continue to examine our curriculum and practices to ensure we are doing everything we can to prevent racism and promote respect for everyone. Some steps we will take include:

        ●   Provide professional development opportunities for faculty and staff to enhance cultural and racial awareness.
        ●   Introduce community building programs and activities that allow for deeper discussion and education around anti-bias themes
        ●   Examine ways in which we can share peace education and social justice resources with our community
        ●   Update our Strategic Plan to reflect our commitment to an anti-bias environment that supports our ideals of equity and fairness, global                                      citizenship, diversity and inclusion.

We remain optimistic that even in this time of turmoil, we can seize this opportunity to work together to create a more inclusive, respectful world for all of us.

Sincerely,
Melanie Jacobs

June 2020

Dear MCS Community,

These past few weeks of protests and demonstrations in response to the death of George Floyd has given us all pause. As we watch these events unfold, we can reflect on our own actions and what we can do to create the kind of world we all want to live in, one with a foundation of respect, equity and diversity.

Here at MCS, our mission is to provide educational environments that foster independent, compassionate, respectful, life-long learners who will become positive forces to care for and transform our world. We have never needed this more than today. One of our core values is “Respect for All.” This belief is at the heart of Montessori philosophy at MCS, where we believe that the work we do daily in helping our students reach their full potential academically, socially, physically and emotionally will lead to the development of global citizens who not only respect all cultures, but remain curious and open to all racial and ethnic minority groups of the world.

Our peace curriculum, which is practiced in all of our environments, encourages students to listen to their peers and communicate honestly and earnestly with one another to reach peaceful solutions to their conflicts. We encourage our students to speak their minds, and we listen to their ideas and opinions, allowing them to play a major part in their own learning and social development, building their independence and confidence as they grow into their adolescent and young adult lives.

Over the next several months, we will continue to examine our curriculum and practices to ensure we are doing everything we can to prevent racism and promote respect for everyone. Some steps we will take include:

        ●   Provide professional development opportunities for faculty and staff to enhance cultural                      and racial awareness.
        ●   Introduce community building programs and activities that allow for deeper discussion and                  education around anti-bias themes
        ●   Examine ways in which we can share peace education and social justice resources with our                  community
        ●   Update our Strategic Plan to reflect our commitment to an anti-bias environment that                            supports our ideals of equity and fairness, global citizenship, diversity and inclusion.

We remain optimistic that even in this time of turmoil, we can seize this opportunity to work together to create a more inclusive, respectful world for all of us.

Sincerely,
Melanie Jacobs

June 2020

Dear MCS Community,

These past few weeks of protests and demonstrations in response to the death of George Floyd has given us all pause. As we watch these events unfold, we can reflect on our own actions and what we can do to create the kind of world we all want to live in, one with a foundation of respect, equity and diversity.

Here at MCS, our mission is to provide educational environments that foster independent, compassionate, respectful, life-long learners who will become positive forces to care for and transform our world. We have never needed this more than today. One of our core values is “Respect for All.” This belief is at the heart of Montessori philosophy at MCS, where we believe that the work we do daily in helping our students reach their full potential academically, socially, physically and emotionally will lead to the development of global citizens who not only respect all cultures, but remain curious and open to all racial and ethnic minority groups of the world.

Our peace curriculum, which is practiced in all of our environments, encourages students to listen to their peers and communicate honestly and earnestly with one another to reach peaceful solutions to their conflicts. We encourage our students to speak their minds, and we listen to their ideas and opinions, allowing them to play a major part in their own learning and social development, building their independence and confidence as they grow into their adolescent and young adult lives.

Over the next several months, we will continue to examine our curriculum and practices to ensure we are doing everything we can to prevent racism and promote respect for everyone. Some steps we will take include:

        ●   Provide professional development                                  opportunities for faculty and staff to                               enhance cultural and racial awareness.
        ●   Introduce community building programs                    and activities that allow for deeper                                discussion and education around anti-bias                 themes
        ●   Examine ways in which we can share                             peace education and social justice                                  resources with our community
        ●   Update our Strategic Plan to reflect our                      commitment to an anti-bias environment                  that supports our ideals of equity and                            fairness, global citizenship, diversity and                      inclusion.

We remain optimistic that even in this time of turmoil, we can seize this opportunity to work together to create a more inclusive, respectful world for all of us.

Sincerely,
Melanie Jacobs

Dr. Maria Montessori and Peace Education

Dr. Maria Montessori worked tirelessly for global peace and received three nominations for a Nobel Peace Prize. Montessori strongly believed that the path to peace lies in the education we give to our children.

Dr. Montessori met Mahatma Gandhi in London in 1931. While living in India during World War II, Montessori and Gandhi corresponded through letters. “Establishing lasting peace is the work of education,” Montessori wrote to Gandhi. Through Gandhi’s interactions with Montessori schools he understood the wisdom of the Montessori method. Gandhi said, The “more I came in touch” with these schools, “I began to understand that the foundation was good and splendid,” that “children could be taught through the laws of nature—nature, consistent with human dignity, not nature that governs the beast.”

Peace Education in a Montessori Classroom

A commitment to basic human rights such as freedom, dignity, safety, equitable treatment, and a standard of living adequate for health and well-being drive the Montessori commitment to education for peace and social justice. By creating respectful, inclusive classrooms, celebrating diversity in all its forms, crossing cultural boundaries, and modeling engaged citizenry, Montessori educators nurture students who will transform the world and make it a better place for their generation and the generations that follow.

Dr. Montessori believed each generation of children brings renewed hope for a more peaceful world. But so often in our practice we make the mistake of isolating peace as a separate curricular area. As children move from respecting their physical space to respectful collaboration, from projecting their own desires for peace and social justice to leading that change, they will come to understand that conflict is an opportunity for growth and understand their own potential for leadership. This is the essence of Montessori, and can be found in the design of the materials and the prepared environment. You will find elements of peace through all levels, materials, and subjects.

-American Montessori Society

Helpful Resources for Parents, Children and Teachers

We will continue to update this page regularly with new content.

Articles:

Websites:

Apps/Podcasts:

Shoonya:  Designed by a fellow Montessori parent, this interactive, edutainment app allows children to learn about languages and cultures from around the world

Peace and social justice-related news sources

The Chronicle of Social Change is a daily news publication devoted to issues affecting youth involved in child welfare and juvenile justice and the larger youth services field.

Race/Related is a free newsletter providing a deep and provocative exploration of race with New York Times.

Social Justice Solutions explores news, topics, and issues about social justice in today’s world.

UN Web TV provides live coverage of select United Nations meetings as well as prerecorded video features and documentaries on global initiatives.
There is also a dedicated channel featuring NGO meetings, both live and on-demand.

Watch & Learn

The 70 Million podcast, named for the 70 million American adults with a criminal record, tells a different story of the lived experience behind criminal-justice policy choices, and of the people, neighborhoods, counties, and cities trying to break cycles of incarceration.

The Come Through with Rebecca Carroll podcast invites special guests for 15 essential conversations about race in the United States.

Seeing White podcast turns the focus of conversations about race toward whiteness.

The Stoop podcast points a journalistic lens at a different facet of black life in all its variety.

Talking Race with Young Children.” This 20-minute lesson from NPR talks about handling conversations about race, racism, diversity, and inclusion with young children.

Your Kids Aren’t Too Young to Talk About Race. This resource roundup from Pretty Good shares articles, podcasts, and books for educating children on race.

Organizations to Follow

Black Lives Matter. Join the Movement fighting for freedom, liberation, and justice. Resources, petitions, and informational guides available.

Family Equality provides resources, activities, and advocacy work for LGBTQIA+ families.

PBS shares information for parents and teachers around educating children about Black History Month.

The Trevor Project is a national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBTQ youth.

The Peace Alliance empowers civic engagement toward a culture of peace. Their network includes volunteer grassroots teams nationwide.

Youth Peace & Social Justice Organizations

DoSomething.org mobilizes young people worldwide to sign up for a volunteer, social change, or civic action campaign that has real-world impact.

Great Kindness Challenge is an annual event based on the belief that everyone has the power to change the world. The event will be held in January 2021.

Kids for Peace focuses on youth leadership, community service, global friendships, and thoughtful acts of kindness.

American Montessori Society Book Recommendations:

Teacher Resources:

American Montessori Society Peace & Social Justice Page

Education Week

#Disrupt Texts

Zinn Education Project

Educolor

Teaching Tolerance has lesson plans that promote social justice, challenge bias, and engage students in discussions about diversity.

The Global Oneness Project offers multicultural films, photo essays, and articles that “explore cultural, social, and environmental issues with a humanistic lens.” Sign up to get their lesson plan of the week, stories, and more, sent to your inbox.

PBS shares information for parents and teachers around educating children about Black History Month.

GSLEN is a national education organization focused on ensuring safe and affirming schools for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning students. 

The National Museum of African American History & Culture shares resources for educators looking to bring race topics into their classrooms. 

World Citizen designates International Peace Sites to promote a more just and harmonious world.

Donation Information:

“The child is both a hope and a promise for mankind.”

-Dr. Maria Montessori