Introducing and Cultivating Peace in our Homes and Classrooms

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


{Image Credit: Sassy Sara

What is Peace?  What does Peace mean to a child?  How will you define Peace in your home or classroom?
If you are unsure where to begin, a good place to start is to talk about things that help us to feel calm and safe.  A nice book to introduce the concept of Peace to a child is
by Vladimir Radunsky.
What does Peace look like? "Like something beautiful that goes away but will come back," one child answers.  Peace sounds like "raindrops falling . . . like voices singing.  Peace tastes like ice cream, in many flavors." 
After reading this book, allow children to journal or discuss their ideas about peace, and what your expectations for peace are in the home.  Talk about the many aspects of peace, and how they involve taking care of our bodies, taking care of others, and taking care of the Earth. 
Peace involves the body, the mind, and the spirit.



The child is reciting a poem written by a nephew of  Gandhi:

I offer you peace;
I offer you love;
I offer you friendship;
I hear your cry;
I see your beauty;
I feel your pain;
My wisdom flows from my spirit within;
I salute that spirit in you.
Let us work together for peace.

Peaceful rituals are comforting. 
Reading a peaceful poem or quote to begin or end the day each day will help establish the peaceful climate in your home.

Another poem about peace:

Peace Is The World Smiling
(author unk.)

Peace is the world smiling.
Peace is a gentle dove.
Peace is sharing.
Peace is caring.
Peace is filling our world with love.

Maria Montessori said “A child is an eager observer and is particularly attracted by the actions of the adults and wants to imitate them. In this regard an adult can have a kind of mission. He can be an inspiration for the child’s actions, a kind of open book wherein a child can learn how to direct his own movements. But an adult, if he is to afford proper guidance, must always be calm and act slowly so that the child who is watching him can clearly see his actions in all their particulars.”

In this way, you are your child's Ambassador of Peace.  You must teach your child through example (using both purposeful lessons and everyday interactions) how to create Peace in your life.  Conflict resolution skills are important. If a child makes a mistake, do not get angry.  Instead, role play or have a conversation about how the conflict could have been resolved peacefully to plan ahead for next time.  Use the exact words in your modeling that you wish your child to use. 

Set up a Peace Table in your house or classroom.  If two children are having a conflict, they may sit at the Peace table facing each other to resolve it.  The children may choose to hold hands while they talk out the problem, or give each other a handshake when they have finished.  Providing a "Peace Flower" (a silk flower works well) at the table allows the children to take turns while explaining their side of the conflict and how it made them feel.  When one child has the peace flower, it is that child's turn to talk.  When they have finished, they pass the peace flower on to the other child, and listen until that child has spoken.  Journaling or drawing a picture about how a conflict was resolved, or should have been resolved, is helpful to get out feelings and remind the child about peaceful methods.

Music is a powerful venue through which to teach about Peace, but also to create a peaceful work and play environment in your home.
One of my favorite CD's for this purpose is


Elizabeth Mitchell's music is very calming and sweet, and although it is very hard to pick favorites, ours include "Peace Like a River", "Three Little Birds" (a Bob Marley cover), and "What Goes On".  
The songs are catchy enough where your family will find themselves singing along, yet is wonderful background music to the rest of your family life. 
Concepts discussed in the songs include peace, friendship, nature, self confidence, and love.
 
Here are two wonderful videos that discusses the integration of Peace concepts into Montessori.
 

1 comments:

The Sunshine Crew said...

Very nice peace post. Thanks for sharing about the topic of peace...so important to keep this in mind when trying to do Montessori inspired environments.
Colleen

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