Maria Montessori was a passionate advocate for fostering peace among people through the power of education and use it as a tool to eliminate war on the whole planet once and for all.
“Peace is a goal that can only be attained through common accord, and the means to achieve this unity for peace are twofold: first, an immediate effort to resolve conflicts without recourse to violence—in other words, to prevent war—and second, a long-term effort to establish a lasting peace among men.”
The whole atmosphere of the Montessori classroom allows establishing a positive attitude and respect towards others. Emphases are made on respectful interactions and recognizing beauty in diversity. Children explore the Continents, experience traditions and celebrations of different cultures of the world.
Children are treated with respect by teachers who allow student’s natural curiosity to take place and guide them in choosing their work for the day. Grace and courtesy experiences are as valuable as any other forms of activity, like math and language exercises. With the help of the Peace Table children are taught that violence is never the right path to resolving conflicts.
We incorporate all these aspects into our daily homeschooling practices. We promote peace education by:
- giving dignity and respect to the child – making eye contact during the conversations and getting on a child’s level, allowing her to make choices during the Montessori work cycle and outside of it, allowing her to choose her clothing, etc.
- being polite and exercise taking turns
- listening to everything she has got to say
- setting up realistic expectations and boundaries
- learning about our family customs, roots, and cultural traditions
- exploring different Continents of the world
- talking about Peacemakers in history
- teaching to be patient and understanding, practice empathy
- teaching to forgive ourselves and others
- encourage learning from mistakes and accepting them as stepping-stones that help us grow
- using the peace corner as a place to resolve conflicts and talk about feelings
I would like to explain how we use our Peace Corner to work on conflict resolutions and establish a peaceful atmosphere. The peace corner (or the peace table for some) is a part of the Montessori classroom where children come to resolve their conflicts and issues that arise among peers. It’s a place where they can invite their friend to join them taking turns talking about their feelings and solve a problem.
In our homeschool, we adopted traditions and set activities to suit our lifestyle and to celebrate our Christian family values. We incorporated different items as a part of conflict resolution and problem-solving. It’s a unique place to learn about peace and unity. Our Peace Corner includes:
- The Peace Rose Book – a beautiful reminder for children to appreciate people’s feelings and resolve issues without violence. It’s a great book designed especially for the Montessori environment. The illustrations are beautiful. The book is a guide for 3-6 yo children to resolve their issues. Children are encouraged to take turns expressing their thoughts and feelings while holding the peace rose which is a part of the peace table setting. Instead of a rose, we use little Flockmen.
- Wooden toys Flockmen – beautiful toys that due to their unique design that allows child make constructions by stacking them on top of each other demonstrate a powerful message – we need each other to stand tall and strong.
We received Flockmen and fell in love with them right away. Looking at these toys made my thoughts drift to our Peace corner. These little people are like a magnet for kids. Children come up with numerous fun variations to build and construct when given an opportunity. Including Flockmen into the Peace corner setup was a truly effective way to convey simple play into the essential message – we need to collaborate to be successful and effective.
These little toys turned from simple blocks for free play into a significant reminder about things that truly matter. Well, having said that, Flockmen play is actually not as simple as it looks. From observing Blossom play with them, I have noticed that it takes a great deal of concentration and coordination skills to build and create a balancing tower using Flockmen. She had both hands engaged at the same time. While one was holding Flockmen, the other was trying to balance and move pieces around. This is not a simple task for a preschooler. Flockmen are great for developing hand-eye coordination and coordination between two hands.
I also loved the fact that pieces were made of wood and not polished. This means children can also paint them and use them for the craft. I am planning to get different paint colours which represent some variations of skin tones to give a demonstration on a variety of nationalities around the world.
Even our one-year-old loved playing with them learning to lay them flat on the table and stack them on top of each other. Needless to say, Flockmen ticked all the boxes – it is a perfect match for our Montessori classroom. They are made out of natural materials, perfect in size to fit into the child’s hand, help a child get engaged with open-ended play, promote creativity, and help to develop concentration.
- Word Art with the Blessing Of Aaron – Bible verse that promotes peace: “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace”.
I put high importance on everything I place on the walls in our classroom. The Blessing Of Aaron is a beautiful prayer that promotes peace. It is a unique way to conclude issue resolution when a child says this prayer over the other person.
Words genuinely have incredible power over children’s lives and form their self-image. This teaches children to use them wisely and with kind intentions. I created this Word Art printable, and it’s a Subscriber freebie. I invite people who would like to receive blog updates from signing up for my newsletters.
Peace is the essential foundation for a child’s mental health. The peace corner creates a perfect opportunity to establish peaceful ways of communication among family members.
For our children to learn how to resolve issues with kindness and respect, we decided to make the Peace corner a part of our daily life. Misunderstandings happen all the time in every house. They are part of healthy relationships. We demonstrate what it is like to forgive and move on in a peaceful manner.
(This is not a sponsored post. No monetary compensation was offered or received. All opinions are my own. Flockmen kindly provided toys for review purposes.)About Anastasia. Anastasia is the founder of Montessori Nature, a blog about Montessori - inspired and Nature-based explorations. She taught in a Montessori setting for 10 years and has been practicing the Montessori way of learning and living for the last 19 years. She loves designing engaging educational printables for children. Learn more here.