Mary’s Peace Day Message September 21, 2016
Today we celebrate for the 14th year, Montessori School of Westfield’s vision of peace for everyone both here and abroad. This celebration is a very special one because we are adding our 7th and last peace pole. The four languages on the peace pole are Aramaic, Gaelic, Hungarian and Filipino.
For Montessori teachers and families, practicing peace and kindness is a cornerstone of the Method and our worldview. At Montessori School of Westfield, we strive daily to express the values of peace, grace, and courtesy in some way. The International Day of Peace is the perfect time to focus on peace in the Montessori classroom. It is easy to enthuse our students about these concepts through our everyday teachings. Along with Peace Day, these classroom activities help us tie Grace and Courtesy, Cultural Studies, and Cosmic Education together through celebration!
Maria Montessori passionately argued that education was a means of eliminating war once and for all. Values such as global citizenship, personal responsibility, and respect for diversity, she argued, must be the number one vision in every child’s education. These values in Montessori education are every bit as crucial as the subjects of math, language or science. She wrote in Education and Peace, “Peace is a goal that can only be attained through common accord, and the means to achieve this unity for peace are twofold: first, an immediate effort to resolve conflicts without recourse to violence—in other words, to prevent war—and second, a longterm effort to establish a lasting peace among men” (Montessori, 1949, p. 27). Maria Montessori persistently worked and spoke out for a more peaceful world. Her work for peace was intrinsically linked to her rights of children.
As most of you know, I am very passionate when it comes to building a strong foundation of love and peace, for our children of the future. As a mother, grandmother, and administrator, I am deeply aware that we must teach and model peace, even when we are in the midst of chaos. It is our job as mentors and role models to teach the children positive ways of dealing with challenges and difficulties as they occur. It is in the home and classroom that adults are in the best position to promote peace and foster consideration for others.
As teachers and parents we promote peace through our own behavior. Adults provide young people with models of respect, empathy and consideration, for others. The journey for children to become empathetic adults is a slow and difficult one. Montessori strives to open the eyes of the child so that he can see the differences of others and perceive the world through the eyes of others.
It is my goal to guide all children to a place where they will have spiritual courage to stand up for injustice, out of love, and not just out of tolerance. And, with that same courage, to reach out to their friends and community, spreading their gifts of kindness and peace. Maria Montessori said, preventing conflict is the work of politics, establishing peace is the work of education.
I ask of all of you today to model and express peace in your homes. By changing one home, at a time, we can change the world.