Curriculum Matters: October19, 2014
Maria Montessori grew up amidst the incredible devastation wrought by WWI. The impact of this backdrop framed her life’s work and resulted in her being first and foremost a peacemaker. Dr Montessori became interested in the education of children out of her fervent desire to see humans transformed into peaceful beings.
Peace education at our Montessori school begins with the three year old and continues in spiral format through Middle School. In the Junior Level students are introduced to the Peace Treaty work. In some classes this involves a special tray, in others, a special table. Students use the treaty process to resolve conflicts peacefully. They learn to use words to effectively advocate for their needs, and engage in the painstaking practice of listening to the words of others. The concrete material of the Peace Tray or Peace Table is a Montessori vehicle for building a community that is secure for all.
As a Montessori school, we celebrate United Nations Day because 68 years ago Franklin Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, and Joseph Stalin met in Yalta at the close of the Second World War and planned for peace. They wanted to create a vehicle that nations would use to build community and work towards security for all. The United Nations was their vision of a Peace Table.
We celebrate United Nations Day because we believe in the work of the United Nations and because we join them as ambassadors of peace.
Students and faculty at EAC come to school on United Nations day dressed in garb that represents a piece of their ancestral heritage. The cacophony of clothing worn during our assembly is testament to our being a microcosm of the world. It is a breathtaking sight that reinforces the idea that we are a melting pot of diversity right in our school community. This is important because without the acknowledgement and acceptance of diversity, peacemaking would be impossible.
The interpretation of what is appropriate to wear on United Nations Day varies. For some, this is clothing or an accessory that has been passed down for many generations. For others, it might mean a pieced together “costume” reminiscent of something that might have been worn by an ancestor. This is an opportunity to reflect upon one’s heritage and choose something from the experience of our predecessors that is still meaningful to us today. Guiding your child’s choices will be influenced by what is of value to you.