Promoting Peace in the Classroom
"Establishing lasting peace is the work of education; all politics can do is
keep us out of war."
“Within the child lies the fate of future.”
Quotes by Maria Montessori, the author of Absorbent Mind
The world today needs peace loving citizens. The foundations of peace truly begin in our homes and our classrooms -- grace and courtesy, politeness towards one another, respect and, of course, empathy. The environment should allow members to freely express themselves, be productive and creative without punishments or violent results.
During the Second World War, Maria Montessori was instructing educators throughout Europe to promote tolerance, understanding and peace to replace the authoritarian education system. Her philosophy emphasized the importance of freeing the child's spirit and removing the unnecessary restrictions of classrooms as it allows children to enjoy and love the education and life itself. Children attending a Montessori setting have a variety of freedoms:
- freedom of movement
- freedom for conversations with adults and peers
- freedom to spend the time needed within activities without interruptions
- freedom to repeat the activity
- freedom to develop within own pace and following personal strengths and interests
- freedom to make mistakes without punishments
- freedom to make choices and tell an opinion.
Indirectly the system prepares the child to take responsibility and initiative, follow the ground rules, complete the cycle of activity and sort out their situations independently but to seek advice from a teacher if required. This education system is not preparing child for school, but for life itself.
It was Maria Montessori’s hope that the knowledge, understanding and respect gained from education would guide children towards developing into becoming "citizens of the world”. An example of this intricate education can be seen in the activities of everyday living as they are introducing the child to not only take care of themselves, but also to take care of environment, pets, plants and objects in the classroom. The freedom to socialise with peers and adults everyday with positive reinforcement and discussion allows the child to develop dynamic social skills and refining their ability to manage a variety of social encounters.
This led to the natural development of Montessori curriculum area in the prepared environment called the Knowledge and Understanding of the World. It is here that the curriculum embodies Montessori's “Cosmic Plan”. Here the spirit of the child is nurtured by engendering enthusiasm and a desire to discover, respect and take responsibility for our planet: its landscapes and its inhabitants. Cosmic Education aims to engage the child in real world experiences that cross political borders. Montessori believed that the Cosmic Education was the anchor for peace and harmony and fundamental when developing these characteristics within our future communities. Often the traditional systems have a limited, if not narrow, approach to global education and perhaps this could be linked to the fact that people are afraid of the foreign, the new and the unknown. In the Montessori classroom the children are learning about different countries, cultural habits, celebrations and people. In the classroom we are focus on appreciating the interdependence between everything we see, the importance of the Sun to our planet, our ecosystems and presence on this Earth. Human beings are naturally gregarious and broadening our knowledge of others in the world around us can only satisfy our desire to flock to one another.
The Little Gems Montessori nursery is an international nursery and children are introduced to different cultures and ways to live through friendships. We are having a privilege possibility to share and celebrate the diversity of people in everyday basis.
Emmi is part of the Montessori team can be found in the Topaz classroom at Little Gems Montessori Nicosia. Her efforts and research in the Knowledge and Understanding of the World curriculum broadens the children's global knowledge daily. If you'd like to know more about our approach to peace education, get in touch!