While we are setting up plans for your classroom for the new school year, we will be planning lessons for languages, history, geography, maths and science. Now, planning is all good and necessary, but how about promoting tolerance in children. After all, the purpose of Montessori is to lay the foundation for ethics and respect for knowledge. Experts at Milton Montessori remark that majority of the teachers neglect to consider such productive activities.
Many of you might be aware of the larger than life idea of Dr Montessori’s career – one of her most famous quotes is “Averting war is the work of politicians; establishing peace is the work of education.” She thought it was crucial in her day; considering the up-rise of racial intolerance, today it may be more important than ever. Experts state that training and shaping children’s perception about such thing from a young age is very crucial to their learning and development.
Here are seven ways we include ‘peace’ in our curriculum this year:
- Define what is ‘peace’ with students. Indulge them in a ‘speaking their mind game’; their answers will probably be very enlightening. They are often surprised to realize that peace can be found many places. It doesn’t just refer to “world peace”. They can have a hand in creating a peaceful environment wherever they are. A word of caution, the definition of peace is a little different to each person, so it is advised to enforce the idea of learning how to deal with a conflict in a way that the solution doesn’t put the rights, wants, or needs of one person over the other.
- Declare our classroom a ‘Peace Zone‘. We establish some ground rules and put it somewhere visible to all children. Do not tolerate any bullying. More importantly, have all the children agree to the ground rules and hold them accountable.
- Incorporate role playing in the classroom and promote conflict resolution skills. Children love these type of activities. We talk about peaceful ways to resolve the conflict. We define and discuss a compromise, taking turns, and listening skills.
- Experts’ remark that ‘Peace’ education is a subject to change and evolution, suffice to say it can vary for different age group. Older children can study, research and discuss the information. However, younger children require a more hands on approach to a lot of things, so specially designed activities are required to promote ‘Peace Education’.
- We try to lead by example. Don’t argue with parents, your spouse, or other teachers in front of the children. Studies have revealed that children tend to copy what they see and try to practice it, which leads to an eventual development of these copied habits in them. Thus it is imperative to remember that children are watching your every move, and learn more from what you do than what you say.
- Emphasize respect for the diversity of traditions and customs found around the world.
- Have children participate in the care of their environment, showing respect for the materials, pets, plants, and other children.