“Averting war is the work of politicians; establishing peace is the work of education.” Maria Montessori
Long before We are the World became a global sensation back in 1985, Maria Montessori recognized and espoused the philosophy of children as the redeeming factor in the evolution of humankind. If we are to bring about a world of peace and tolerance, where violence and war are universally considered absurd and unacceptable, it is important to focus on and teach peace early, and often, throughout the various stages of a child’s development.
In the days following the recent, tragic shootings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL, there has been much-renewed discussion and debate about issues pertaining to school safety and security, mental health, and gun control.
While not wanting to appear to be minimizing the necessity and importance of these discussions, I would propose that there is one other issue that we are all-too-often neglecting to address. And, of course, leave it to Dr. Montessori to have clearly and concisely characterized it when she wrote:
“…we must gather together all the elements of the world and organize them into a science of peace.”
Earlier this year, at one of our Parent Education Nights, our MCS staff1 provided those of us who attended with a truly inspiring series of presentations showing how the Montessori Peace Curriculum is implemented in all our classrooms and at every level. Progressing from the study of Continents and Peoples of the World in our Primary and Lower Elementary classes, to the Fundamental Needs of Humans in our Upper Elementary classes, to the experiential opportunities of our Adolescents as they embark on trips such as the one last year to various historic Civil Rights Movement sites, or the one to Puerto Rico that they will be taking this spring, our students eventually “graduate” from MCS well-prepared and equipped to be peace-makers, peace-keepers, and peace-seekers throughout their adult lives.
“There’s a choice we’re making.
We’re saving our own lives.
It’s true, we’ll make a better day, just you and me.”
-Tim Daniel, Head of School