Maria Montessori was one of the first educators to recognize the power of teaching in creating peaceful, empathetic, and caring citizens of the world. As she once wrote, “If peace and salvation are to come, it will be from the children, for the children are the makers of men.” She believed that if children are exposed to the wonders, diversity, differences, and similarities of the people, animals, and natural elements that make up our beautiful planet, then they will grow to become lifelong stewards of their planet, and mindful, active members of their community.
The Philly Montessori peace curriculum includes activities to promote mindfulness, self-reflection, and conflict resolution. Children practice mindfulness through meditative works such as zen gardens, meditation, and yoga. They practice self-reflection by exploring feelings and learning the language associated with feelings. Through books and conversations with their peers and guides, they learn how to effectively resolve conflicts by using their words to communicate feelings, wants, and needs. Older children in our classrooms may begin to learn about peacemakers in their communities or in history, and may also begin to learn about tangible ways that they too can make a larger impression on their immediate community or on those in need through their own peaceful actions.
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