MARIA MONTESSORI, MD (1870-1952) Scientific observation has established that education is not what the teacher gives ; education is a natural process spontaneously carried out by the human individual , and is acquired not by listening to words but by experiences upon the environment . The task of the teacher becomes that of preparing a series of motives of cultural activity , spread over a specially prepared environment , and then refraining from obtrusive interference. Human teachers can only help the great work that is being done, as servants help the master . Doing so, they will be witnesses to the unfolding of the human soul and to the rising of a New Man who will not be a victim of events, but will have the clarity of vision to direct and shape the future of human society. - Maria Montessori, Education for a New World http://www.montessori.edu/maria.html
“ Free the child's potential, and you will transform him into the world” Maria Montessori “ If help and salvation are to come, they can only come from the children, for the children are the makers of men.” Maria Montessori
THE WOMAN & HER METHOD Just who was this woman who began an educational revolution that changed the way we think about children more than anyone before or since? Maria Montessori, born in 1870, was the first woman in Italy to receive a medical degree. She worked in the fields of psychiatry, education and anthropology. She believed that each child is born with a unique potential to be revealed, rather than as a "blank slate" waiting to be written upon. Her main contributions to the work of those of us raising and educating children are in these areas: Preparing the most natural and life-supporting environments for the child Observing the child living freely in this environment Continually adapting the environment in order that the chid may fulfil his or her greatest potential, physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
“ Establishing lasting peace is the work of education; all politics can do is keep us out of war.” Maria Montessori
THE EARLY YEARS Maria Montessori was always a little ahead of her time. At age thirteen, against the wishes of her father but with the support of her mother, she began to attend a boys' technical school. After seven years of engineering she began premed and, in 1896 became a physician. In her work at the University of Rome psychiatric clinic Dr. Montessori developed an interest in the treatment of special needs children and, for several years, she worked, wrote, and spoke on their behalf. In 1907 she was given the opportunity to study "normal" children, taking charge of fifty poor children of the dirty, desolate streets of the San Lorenzo slum on the outskirts of Rome. The news of the unprecedented success of her work in this Casa dei Bambini "House of Children" soon spread around the world, people coming from far and wide to see the children for themselves. Dr. Montessori was as astonished as anyone at the realized potential of these children:
“ One test of the correctness of educational procedure is the happiness of the child.” Maria Montessori
Supposing I said there was a planet without schools or teachers, study was unknown, and yet the inhabitants - doing nothing but living and walking about - came to know all things, to carry in their minds the whole of learning: would you not think I was romancing? Well, just this, which seems so fanciful as to be nothing but the invention of a fertile imagination, is a reality. It is the child's way of learning. This is the path he follows. He learns everything without knowing he is learning it, and in doing so passes little from the unconscious to the conscious, treading always in the paths of joy and love.
FROM EUROPE TO THE UNITED STATES Invited to the USA by Alexander Graham Bell, Thomas Edison, and others, Dr. Montessori spoke at Carnegie Hall in 1915. She was invited to set up a classroom at the Panama-Pacific Exposition in San Francisco, where spectators watched twenty-one children, all new to this Montessori method, behind a glass wall for four months. The only two gold medals awarded for education went to this class, and the education of young children was altered forever.
INDIA and THE NOBEL PEACE PRIZE During World War II Dr. Montessori was forced into exile from Italy because of her antifascist views and lived and worked in India . It was here that she developed her work Education for Peace , and developed many of the ideas taught in her training courses today. She was twice nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Montessori classrooms are arranged so that younger children benefit from having older peers as role models and tutors. This helps assure that each child learns at his/her own pace even though it is the teacher who sets each child's agenda. In the mixed age classroom, children are always able to find a peer who is working at their level. Montessori teachers observe how commonly new students at all levels quickly become accustomed to the Montessori classroom mainly because of how the older children mentor the younger ones.
1. I don’t want my younger child going to an older one for help. Only the teacher should help them since I can’t rely on an older child to know the answer. In the Montessori classroom, the teacher is not the primary focus of the classroom ; the child is. Who better to learn from than your own peers? They have already had the presentations and had individual practice with the material. They are truly the ‘experts’ in the classroom. (I tell parents that if their younger child is not satisfied with the answer they receive from a peer, they are always able to ask a teacher for further clarification ). Additionally, it is a delight to watch the joy and appreciation of the older students when their younger peers learn something new. There is a purity of emotion and lack of competition and the younger students have a true sense of accomplishment.
2. Why can’t there be a single age in a classroom? It’s really too intimidating for my child to be around all those big kids. Mixed age classrooms actually provide more stability. By staying in the same classroom for three years, the children form solid relationships and a sense of community with both their peers and their teachers. The culture of the room remains calm and stable when two-thirds of the class returns each year. The younger children look up to the older ones as role models and the older children look forward to the opportunity to be mentors.
3. I don’t want my older child to become the babysitter of the younger ones. Why should his/her education suffer? The teacher should be the one teaching. Yes, older children do take on the role of mentor in the Montessori classroom. At the beginning of the year they act as role models for how the classroom runs as well as a point of contact for basic questions such as “Where’s the bathroom?”, “Where do I put my lunchbox?”, and “When do we eat lunch?”. Older children also assist younger ones with their daily work. They may teach lessons or help check work and correct errors. This demonstrates a very high level of thinking. Being able to re-teach a skill that has been previously learned enables the one teaching to learn as much as the child receiving the lesson. Re-teaching reinforces the previously-learned concept and moves the child toward complete mastery . It also helps develop independence and autonomy in the older child , something that is often lacking in traditional settings.
The first idea the child must acquire is that of the difference between good and evil. Maria Montessori
4. I don’t want my young child playing on the playground with all those big, rough children. Can’t you have a separate recess for them? The mixed age grouping in a Montessori classroom becomes like a family for both the children and their teachers. The older children look out for the younger ones. They teach them how to play new games, how to share, and how to be good sports. They also are the first to rush to their side if someone gets hurt . They run to get ice packs and bandages. I’ve seen the biggest Montessori Middle School boy stop in the middle of a soccer or basketball game to comfort and care for a first grader who has gotten hurt. Parents are asked if they separate younger siblings or cousins from playing together. The answer is always no. They are gently reminded that as a Montessori family everyone looks out for one another. While most parents seem satisfied with the above explanations, a few remain doubtful. Usually, by the time conferences come around, they are quite happy with how their child has found their own special place within the Montessori classroom.
“ The task of the educator lies in seeing that the child does not confound good with immobility and evil with activity.” Maria Montessori
"Pedagogy is the determinant of human relationships in the educational process. It is itself the medium of communication between teacher and learner, and that aspect …which most affects what learners receive from their teachers." – Betty Reardon "If peace is both the destination and the journey then what we teach and how we teach it must not be separated in our preparations for working with pupils." - Patrick Whitaker, British educational advisor and former teacher
Content & Methods Peace education brings together multiple traditions of pedagogy, theories of education, and international initiatives for the advancement of human development through learning . It is fundamentally dynamic, interdisciplinary, and multicultural and grows out of the work of educators such as John Dewey, Maria Montessori, Paulo Freire, Johan Galtung, Elise and Kenneth Boulding, and many others. Building on principles and practices that have evolved over time, responding to different historical circumstances, peace education aims to cultivate the knowledge, skills, and attitudes needed to achieve and sustain a global culture of peace. Understanding and transforming violence is central . The following diagram helps visualise the core relationship between violence and peace.
Peace is understood not only as the absence of traditional forms of direct violence , but also as a positive presence . Educating for and about all aspects of peace constitutes peace education.
This diagram illustrates the relationships among the central knowledge, skills, and attitudes of peace education. They are drawn from educational initiatives all over the world and form the basis of the learning objectives in the Teaching Units of the Learner as Teacher section.
In the classroom, peace education aims to develop skills, attitudes, and knowledge with co-operative and participatory learning methods and an environment of tolerance, care, and respect. Through dialogue and exploration , teachers and students engage in a journey of shared learning. Students are nurtured and empowered to take responsibility for their own growth and achievement while teachers care for the wellbeing of all students. The practice of peace education is an opportunity to promote the total welfare of students, advocate for their just and equitable treatment of youth, and promote individual and social responsibility for both educators and learners. Through pedagogy and social action, peace educators demonstrate that there are alternatives to violence.
The Importance of Educational Environments Centred on developing the capacities of learners, peace education is relevant in a variety of different educational settings from rural to urban, school-based to community, and within formal curricula or non-formal popular education projects. To a large extent, the social, cultural, economic, and political contexts in which educators work shape the specific content and methods they choose. However, the central knowledge, skills, and attitudes discussed in the Content and Methods section are relevant across educational environments. Many teachers infuse peace education into traditional academic subjects such as literature, math, science, history, language, civics, and the arts. Various aspects of peace education may even serve to enhance learning across subjects, as indicated in a recent conflict resolution initiative in many places in the world. Ultimately, educating for peace is as varied as the teachers who practice it.
"...there are no simple answers to how education can contribute towards disarmament and development. But increasing awareness through education seems to be a way towards the kind of mobilisation that is necessary..." - Magnus Haavelsrud, Norwegian peace educator Challenges & Opportunities Peace Education does not teach students what to think, but rather how to think critically . In the process, its holistic and participatory approach may conflict with more traditional curriculum design or strict standards-based schooling. Peace education aims not to reproduce but to transform. It consists of people " consciously striving to educate their successors not for the existing state of affairs but so as to make possible a future better humanity. " (John Dewey, Democracy and Education ) And with this task comes significant challenges and opportunities for all involved.
One way to meet the challenges of peace education is to build bridges of support among key participants . Just as learning takes place in a broader social context and not exclusively in schools or classrooms, so peace education relies on families, communities, and social networks to affect positive and lasting change. The notion "think globally, act locally" is central to educating for a culture of peace in that it links theory with practice, international issues to individual efforts. As a peace educator, you need not work alone. The international peace education community is active and growing through networks, publications, global campaigns, national initiatives, and international programs . Concerned citizens, educators and activists of all ages around the world are promoting and building peace through education
A Student’s Guide to Peace Education "Youth have the energy, enthusiasm and ability to transform their lives and help make the world a better place in which to live." - Craig Kielburger, 16 year old founder of Free the Children, an international youth organisation whose mission is to free children from poverty and exploitation and to empower young people to become leaders in their communities, nationally and internationally Peace education is not just about what happens in school. It is not about what you need to know for the test or memorise to please the teacher. Peace education is about how you can help build the future and make your world a more peaceful place to live.
Peace education asks you to ask yourself: What is PEACE? Is there peace in my life? Where? In my classroom? In my family? In my community? In my town? In my country? Where in my life would I like to see more peace? What is important for me to LEARN? What can I DO with what I learn? Lots of kids and young adults around the world are asking themselves what they can do to make the world a safer, healthier, greener, more fair and less violent place for everyone to live and grow . Young people have added their voices to a global call to end school violence, poverty, child labour, racial and gender discrimination, child soldiers, and brutal warfare . With so many challenges for the future, learning about peace in school is an important beginning. This year, 2000, has been declared by the United Nations the International Year for the Culture of Peace and it is the first year in the International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence for the Children of the World.
<ul><li>The United Nations is encouraging young people to participate in the process of building peace. In September, 1999, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) stated: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>"Young people are the present; their involvement is a necessity for human development and sustainability. The strongest demand expressed today by young people themselves is that for participation: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>They want to be considered as full and equal citizens . Young people are capable of assuming responsible, determining roles in society. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>They need only to be given the opportunity and guidance to prove their ability. Young people deserve to be consulted and involved in all aspects of social interchange . They desire to be serious and reliable partners in the conception, planning and implementation of policies and programmes in their communities and societies. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Young people have as much to say about societal problems and potential remedies as others do. Taking apt account of their concerns and suggestions will be beneficial for all. Young people should hold a role in decision-making that is given due import ." </li></ul></ul>
"Establishing peace is the work of education." Maria Montessori The essence of the Montessori approach is the education for peace. This premise is exhibited in a Montessori classroom by the use of multi-cultural curriculum , character education , lessons on grace and courtesy , discouraging play that involves war games and gun play , and the use of conflict resolution to help children learn to solve their problems with words rather than with their hands . Our discipline techniques utilize respectful, nonphysical methods . We believe that consistency, limit-setting, positive redirection, and non-physical discipline techniques lead the child to having a healthy self-image and help develop self-discipline. This results in children acting out of respect rather than fear of punishment. We also believe that parents must provide an environment for their child that is nonviolent regarding the media to which the child is exposed. Choosing television shows, movies, videos and computer games that are nonviolent is imperative.
As parents, we do tend to discipline our children as we had been parented. If this included corporal punishment or harsh degrading speech, breaking the cycle can be an effort. Values Ed & Character Ed Classes are offered in schools for all school families so they may learn and be encouraged to adapt positive ways of disciplining their children. Alternatives to punishment are emphasized and communication skills are integrated so that parents and teachers can work together to provide effective discipline for the children enrolled in Montessori Schools. libraries have adequate books, audio tapes, and video tapes on positive discipline, methods for effective family communication, and ways to build within each child a healthy esteem for self and others
International Montessori Council / IMC Members Resource Library: Educational Program Peace Education. Is it a Curriculum ? by Ann Mason As the new millennium unfolds we have made promises of hope and peace to ourselves and our children. The United Nations has declared a decade of peace and non-violence for children and we as educators aspire to developing a peace culture within our teaching and learning environments . As we decide together as teachers, educators and even as parents the essential understandings upon which to base the programmes we undertake in our schools and universities we consciously try to attend to these promises in every moment. The notion of peace education has been bantered amongst us for at least 5 decades since the dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki and we pay serious attention when the children of Hiroshima bravely cry out to us every August 6th.
The challenge is to now pay serious attention to their plea for peace on the 7th and following days. Honouring our promises In our classrooms and lecture theatres we have courageously attempted to define peace and establish many peaceful processes that reflect our heartfelt desire for a world that is safe for our children and one in which they will be treated fairly and justly . As we present the truth in relation to the inequities that painfully exist throughout the world we also actively search for ways to alleviate these injustices and make the world, especially in relation to our own local communities, better. In our genuine efforts to create ’peace and harmony echoing across the lands’. We have incited a true commitment amongst many people in educational communities throughout the world to develop a peace culture…and our children we influence are also committed to ensuring that peace is a self-fulfilling prophecy.
We have explored the notion of difference and celebrated it in our schools and taught our children the meaning of equity and social justice and insist upon it operating at all levels within our profession. We creatively have established data bases that isolate the many different things children can achieve along a continuum and we diligently focus upon using the appropriate language we use to define our positive intentions. We conscientiously avoid making biased judgements and encourage and support self assessment, openness, independence and empowerment remaining confident in the knowledge that the road to a peaceful and interdependent world will be paved by the new generations of independent thinking and acting peacemakers, hopefully being the children whom we teach.
We do pay serious attention, especially to issues unfolding daily in the Middle East, but sometimes a great sense of hopelessness can prevail. Carefully must we tread this road as teaching wonderful peaceful ideals to our children can present many frustrating contradictions to them when the real world is thrust upon them. But we can reassure them that every little step counts along the road to peace and our positive intentions do matter. As a teenager 30 years ago, reflecting on the hopelessness pervading and defining my future, my father, a man who possessed a very powerful sense and commitment to social justice, would answer when I angrily blamed God for creating or allowing such horrible things to occur: “God had nothing to do with this mess. Humanity has managed this all by itself.”
Fortunately in the year 2000 most of us will choose resolution strategies that are guided by social justice and peaceful initiatives rather than choose “war” as our strategy and we have accepted the responsibility for making the associated positive changes in our thinking. Consultation rather than confrontation ….working as teams rather than individually….collaboration rather than competition…all dominate the thinking and actioning these days. Together we are creating a better world on many fronts well beyond the boundaries of our classrooms. As educators trying to create new, stimulating and meaningful peace education programmes we have asked ourselves if is there is anything about peace we must essentially understand before we can define processes within our educational environments that pertain to our objectives.
It is necessary that peace be defined clearly and that this definition be agreed upon by all of us before the creation of the kind of educational experiences that will sustain and nurture a peace culture can occur ? I personally have explored this question with a friend who is enthusiastically developing an alternative approach to the already established peace education processes for us to consider. Hassaun Ali Jones-Bey, who lives in Fremont California, and is a US Navy veteran and peace-maker, has raised some extremely challenging notions with me. Ali has told me he believes humanity, after having eagerly explored both peace and war as options to establishing peace, now honestly would prefer to choose peaceful options only. But he also believes this choice requires some very active imagining to occur.
He invites us to explore some new thinking and creative adventuring into developing some simple but workable processes that might help in the establishment of a meaningful and lasting peace for the world…and these peace-making processes rely primarily upon our imaginations and not on the effectiveness of our expanding nuclear arsenals or equitable laws or peace keeping forces…..and the best part is that they are free and are something each and everyone of us can actively participate in. He challenges us to move beyond the exploration of issues in our classrooms and work with imagery instead. As educators will we need to define these steps….isolate relevant understandings and produce measurable outcomes ???
Ali would suggest NO ! Peace education, as he understands it, cannot be a curriculum that requires solely upon a content and agreed upon list of understandings and measurable outcomes…or be something you can pass or fail. It should evolve from a set of on-going cross generational experiences that constantly reinforce a real sense of humanity and peace as a way of life with story-telling being the key. He reminded me of the powerful story-telling our ancestors did around their campfires and how the teachings were passed along generations via this process without the aid of books and other teaching resources except for simple tools for painting and basic musical instruments and songs and of course, stories. The understandings were intrinsically enmeshed in every word chanted, every step danced and in very symbol used on cave walls or bark to represent every ancestral story’s message that needed to be passed along to the new generations. He conveyed also his wonderment in relation to how only a few years ago some very powerful imaginations in the valleys of California magically created the multi-million dollar silicon industry that has revolutionised our communication systems let alone our entire world and he pondered what stories were these children told to ignite their imaginations? Now we have the Internet to help share our stories with each other.
Ali is developing a very unique but special project called Imagine Peace. He invites us to explore our true natures and allow and nurture a very natural unfolding to occur. He invites us to use our imaginations and create new thoughts and peace associated experiences, then create stories we can share with each other within our classrooms and lecture theatres, our homes and communities about these wonderful peaceful possibilities that we have imagined. Beginning with our imaginations we can develop so many new understandings and possibilities…... ones based upon peace and love….. and these necessary understandings will help create experiences that will reinforce our humanity and universality not only amongst ourselves. By sharing these stories across cultural, geographical and socio-economic boundaries these understandings could also become universal. Just as the magical silicon valley was initially created by powerful imaginations perhaps a new peaceful and peace loving world can be as well..
Ali says: the first step in creation is imagination. Ali is not naïve and doesn’t believe our imaginations alone can create peace. He does believe though they provide the necessary first step in the process because once these new understandings and peaceful options are created in our imaginations we can then set about to actively make them work in the real world. We can create with our imaginations visions of the new peaceful communities and world in which we would like to live. Our imaginations can even help us explore different ways of achieving our aims.
From my own personal experiences children innately know what peace means for them and as Maria Montessori believed, these innate understandings need to be nurtured and allowed to unfold in a non-judgemental and non-competitive yet enabling environment. Reminders of genocide and our failure as humanity to care for each other won’t sustain a peace culture and for us it just reinforces a recurrent need for revenge and perpetuation of hatred and distrust in each other…certainly not peaceful thoughts and actions…nor thoughts and actions that will secure world peace….and neither will continual debate and argument about who is right and who is wrong, even if it is undertaken peacefully.
Ali recommended I read “The Forest People” by Colin Turnbull. The book is an account of an anthropologist’s research in the forests of Central Africa. He lived with a very spiritually oriented group of people who taught him the power of molimo….the healing music. As the pygmies played their music and sang their songs they believed the forest was healed and rejuvenated and in doing so it was then able to heal and rejuvenate them, thus constantly nurturing their spirituality and providing for their physical needs as well. Ali, being African American himself, and taunted by the voices of his own ancestral spirits, appreciates this strong attachment between the pygmies and the forest and suggests we along with our children, can also create our own molimo music and stories that nurture our environment and assist in the perpetuation and growth of peace for ourselves personally and in our communities….because in healing our thoughts our imaginations will create a healed earth…and vice versa.
Ali has challenged me to create and document meaningful educational experiences that are based upon the essential understandings of his project Imagine Peace. I intend to involve my school community and not just the children I teach. Not only do the children need to be story-telling, listening and sharing but so do their parents and grandparents. As our imaginations are set to work and the reality of the day to day feasibility and practicality of them unfold, our progress will be presented as student developed webpages at the following URL. I teach at Pulteney Grammar School in South Australia:
To begin and establish a focus upon Ali’s Imagine Peace based understandings we will explore educational possibilities in relation to his initiated Light the Lamp of Peace ceremony. This ceremony acknowledges the coincidence of Hanukkah, Christmas and Ramadan simultaneously occurring this December 2000 and he invites us to celebrate this once in every thirty years happening as being the appropriate time to truly commit our imaginations and energies to creating sustainable peace. Although this particular ceremony focusses upon the three main Abrahamic faiths’ celebrations he invites everyone from all faiths, or those who choose to have no particular religious association to celebrate together the possibility of world peace eventuating and begin by sharing our stories. Our involvement can be a powerful symbolic gesture to begin truly uniting us in the quest for peace.
Peace education encompasses the key concepts of education and peace. While it is possible to define education as a process of systematic institutionalized transmission of knowledge and skills, as well as of basic values and norms that are accepted in a certain society, the concept of peace is less clearly defined. Many writers make an important distinction between positive and negative peace. Negative peace is defined as the absence of large-scale physical violence - the absence of the condition of war. Positive peace involves the development of a society in which, except for the absence of direct violence, there is no structural violence or social injustice . Accordingly, peace education could be defined as an interdisciplinary area of education whose goal is institutionalized and non-institutionalized teaching about peace and for peace. Peace education aims to help students acquire skills for nonviolent conflict resolution and to reinforce these skills for active and responsible action in the society for the promotion of the values of peace. Therefore, unlike the concept of conflict resolution, which can be considered to be retroactive - trying to solve a conflict after it has already occurred - peace education has a more proactive approach. Its aim is to prevent a conflict in advance or rather to educate individuals and a society for a peaceful existence on the basis of nonviolence, tolerance, equality, respect for differences, and social justice.
The Development of Peace Education and Its Basic Principles The understanding of the concept of peace has changed throughout history, and so has its role and importance in the educational system from the very beginnings of the institutionalized socialization of children. When discussing the evolution of peace education, however, there have been a few important points in history that defined its aims and actions. The end of World War I (1914 - 1918) brought powerful support for the need for international cooperation and understanding and helped instill a desire to include these ideas in educational systems. The League of Nations and a number of nongovernmental organizations worked together on these ideas, especially through the International Institute of Intellectual Cooperation, an organization that was the predecessor of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). World War II (1939 - 1945) ended with millions of victims and the frightening use of atomic weapons against Japan, at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
In 1946 UNESCO was founded as an umbrella institution of the United Nations, and it was charged with planning, developing, and implementing general changes in education according to the international politics of peace and security. The statute of this organization reinforced the principle of the role of education in the development of peace, and a framework was created for including and applying the principles of peace in the general world education systems. The cold war division of the world after World War II and the strategy of the balance of fear between the so-called West and East blocs redirected the peace efforts. The peace movement began concentrating on stopping the threat of nuclear war, halting the arms race, and encouraging disarmament . Somewhat parallel to this, the issues of environmental protection and development found their place in peace education programs. The contemporary socio-political environment (particularly the events in eastern Europe since the early 1990s, the fear of terrorism, and the increasing gap between developed and undeveloped countries) has created new challenges for the understanding of peace and for the development of the underlying principles of responsibility and security.
A 1996 book by Robin Burns and Robert Aspeslagh showed that the field and the themes that are included in peace education are diverse. The diversity is evident in theoretical approaches, underlying philosophies, basic methodology, and goals. Within the field of peace education, therefore, one can find a variety of issues, ranging from violence in schools to international security and cooperation, from the conflict between the developed world and the undeveloped world to peace as the ideal for the future, from the question of human rights to the teaching of sustainable development and environmental protection. A critic could say that the field is too wide and that peace education is full of people with good intentions but without a unique theoretical framework, firm methodology, and an evaluation of the outcomes of the practical efforts and programs of peace education. Some within the field would generally agree with this criticism. Nevertheless, the importance of accepting the specific situations in which programs for peace are being implemented and held should be emphasized. Owing to these specifics, difficulties emerge when one tries to define the unique approach, methodology, and evaluation of the efficiency of applied programs. The complex systems of society, the circumstances, and the context make the peace education field very active and diverse.
Conflict and its role in peace education. Conflict is a part of life, and its nature is neither good nor bad. On the interpersonal and intergroup level, conflict describes an imbalance or an existence of difference between the needs and interests of two sides. It becomes negative only when the answer to a conflict is aggression. It is possible, however, to resolve the difference positively, by recognizing the problem and recognizing one's own needs and interests and also acknowledging the needs of the opposing sides. In this way, constructive nonviolent conflict resolutions are possible. An important aspect of conflict is that it includes potential for change, and it is in this context that peace education addresses the issues of conflict and conflict resolution by teaching students how to take creative approaches to the conflict and how to find different possibilities for the conflict resolution. Thus students gain knowledge and skills that encourage personal growth and development, contribute to self-esteem and respect of others, and develop competence for a nonviolent approach to future conflict situations.
Peace Education in Schoo ls From the very beginnings of the development of systematic peace education, there has been discussion about whether it should be added as a separate program in the schools, or if the principles of peace education should be applied through the regular school subjects. The variety of approaches and attitudes on what peace education actually is leads to the introduction of a series of titles, such as multicultural training, education for democracy and human rights, and education for development. Many in the field, however, believe that the implementation of principles of peace education into the institutionalized educational system is a better approach, especially within the subjects encompassing the cultural heritage of the dominant society and the ethnic groups belonging to it. Consistent with this view, Aspeslagh in 1996 wrote about the need to internationalize national curriculum. For example, including within the curriculum the contributions of minority groups to literature, history, art, the general cultural heritage, and the development of the particular nation-state may significantly contribute to intercultural closeness and understanding.
The Principles and Theoretical Foundations of Peace Education Programs Since the psychologist Gordon Allport formulated his well-known contact hypothesis in 1954, this theoretical framework became the most applicable principle for programs whose main goal is to change the relationships between groups in conflict. According to Allport's theory, for the intergroup contact to be successful and accomplish positive changes in attitudes and behavior, it must fulfill four basic conditions: the contact groups must be of equal status, the contact must be personal and manifold , the groups must depend on each other working for a superordinate goal, and there must be institutional support for the equality norm. The numerous re-search projects that tried to verify the predictions of the contact hypothesis provided contradictory results, raising serious doubts about the major cognitive, affective, and behavioral shifts that occur as a result of organized meetings between representatives of conflicting groups. Almost every new study added new conditions that must be fulfilled in order for the contact to be successful.
Even if there is a positive change in the attitude toward members of the outgroup in direct contact, there is a question of the generalization of the newly formed attitude to the other members of the outgroup. The key problem of peace education is not the interpersonal conflict but the collective conflict between groups, races, nations, or states. Therefore, the issue of transferring the positive attitudes toward members of other groups - attitudes achieved in safe environments such as classrooms, schools, workshops, and the like - to all members of the outgroup and all other outgroups remains the pivotal issue of peace education. Children learn about peace and the need for peace in safe protected environments and then return to a wider society where there is still injustice, asymmetry of power, a hierarchical structure , discrimination, and xenophobia . Therefore, each program for peace education must not only strengthen the capacity of an individual for critical thinking but also strengthen the individual's ability to resist the majority, if the majority is one that discriminates. As stated by Ervin Staub in 1999, for change to happen and spread there is a need for a minimum mass of people who share attitudes, a culture in which they can express those attitudes, and a society that accepts the attitudes.
Based on the contact hypothesis, a very successful technique was developed for improving the relations among groups, highly applicable as a general teaching and learning method. It is the cooperative learning technique in which a smaller group of students study in face-to-face interaction, cooperating to complete a common task. This technique was very successful both in lower and higher grades of elementary school, not only as a teaching method but also for creating a positive atmosphere in the classroom, reinforcing students relationships, and creating intergroup friendships.
On the other hand, based on the idea that adopting knowledge and developing skills is the basis for gaining positive attitudes and behavior, intercultural training programs were also developed. These basically involve a group of techniques that accept the primary notion that differences between cultures are what lead to misunderstandings and conflicts between groups. Such programs assume that information about the values, customs, and practices of the members of a different culture contributes to better understanding of others, thereby reducing prejudices, negative stereotypes, and tensions between people who belong to different cultures. Research has shown that ignorance about others plays a significant role in the development and perpetuation of prejudices. Educating students about both cultural similarities and differences is a significant factor in reducing prejudice .
Conclusion Peace education is a diverse field that includes the theoretical, research, and practical activities of experts from many disciplines assembled in a number of professional and research associations. The best known among these is the International Peace Re-search Association, which was founded in 1964. The programs of peace education exist within the academic discipline of peace studies on many universities, especially in the United States. The dissemination of research results and theoretical approaches is ensured by the existence of a number of periodicals, for example Peace and Conflict: Journal of Peace Psychology; Journal of Peace Research ; and Peace and Change. . The measure of the success of these efforts will be seen in the ending of conflicts between countries and nations, in a more just distribution of goods, and in reducing the differences in economic development and life standards between the countries of the underdeveloped and developed worlds. For the culture of peace to become established, it is necessary to accept the principles of uniqueness in divers
THE ELEMENTARY MONTESSORI PROGRAM In Rome Dr. Montessori developed the Montessori program for the elementary years for the child from 6-12. She began, as elementary classes do today, with the required curriculum of Italy of her time. She adapted the traditional teacher-taught subjects in the arts and science so that the children could use materials to guide their open-ended research and to follow their individual interests, working to a much higher level than was previously (and is presently!) thought possible for children of this age. The elementary child, when allowed to work independently instead of being taught in groups led by a teacher, and in classes with a mixed age group of 6-12- year-old students inspiring and teaching each other, masters academic subjects usually not taught until middle or high school.
TODAY Since her death an interest in Dr. Montessori's methods have continued to spread throughout the world. Her message to those who emulated her was always to turn one's attention to the child, to "follow the child". It is because of this basic tenet, and the observation guidelines left by her, that Dr. Montessori's ideas will never become obsolete. Many people, hearing of the high academic level reached by students in this system of education, miss the point and think that Montessori math manipulative (as an example) is all there is to the Montessori method. It is easy to acquire materials and to take short courses to learn to use them, but the real value of Montessori takes long and thorough training for the adult.
The potential of the child is not just mental, but is revealed only when the complete "Montessori method" is understood and followed. The child's choice, practical work, care of others and the environment, and above all the high levels of concentration reached when work is respected and not interrupted, reveal a human being that is superior not only academically, but emotionally and spiritually, a child who cares deeply about other people and the world, and who works to discover a unique and individual way to contribute. This is the essence of real "Montessori" work today.
An Entry Level Outline of the Montessori Peace Curriculum Ursula Thrush Peace education is implicit in the Montessori curriculum and its manipulative materials. Peace has to be cultivated in our classrooms by combining the actual experience of peace with hands-on peace making skills and the intellectual academic activities leading to the understanding of peace.
Academic Peace Activities Peace Experiences Preschool The Global View Introduction to the world Land and water forms Globes World maps Plants of the world Animals of the world Peoples of the world Fundamental needs of humans Global comparisons Free choice: self- respect Respect for others Cooperation Silence Game Non competitiveness Conflict resolution Peace table Respect for the environment Identification with others Self-control
Elementary The Cosmic View The evolution of consciousness and love Physics experiments Cosmic tale Impressionistic Charts Clock of eras Timeline of life Evolution of interdependence of life Unconscious contribution Caring Timeline of early humans Reflective thought Creative imagination Conscious choice Altruism Timeline of BC and AD Progress of human need fulfillment Timeline of civilizations From early settlers to agape Mediation Recognizing laws of nature Personal values
Secondary The Social View History timeline Timeline of great peacemakers Global economics and politics Social responsibility Conscious choice to act Responsibility as co-creators Researching great humanitarians Evaluating personal actions Evaluating personal values Evaluating personal choices Evaluating co-creation Evaluating personal integrity Evaluating self
I pledge to model respect to others. I pledge to look out for those who are unable to look out for themselves. I pledge to take care of my community. I pledge to respect all living things. I pledge to use my words in ways that help and not hurt. I pledge to help others to do the same. I pledge to say I’m sorry to those I hurt.
Let There Be Peace on Earth Let there be peace on Earth, the peace that was meant to be. With God as our Father, brothers all are we, Let me walk with my brother, in perfect harmony. Let peace begin with me, let this be the moment now. With every step I take, let this be my solemn vow, To take each moment and live each moment in peace, eternally. Let there be Peace on Earth, and let it begin with me. (Words and Music by Jill Jackson and Sy Miller, Circa 1955)
Dr. Montessori said “Establishing lasting peace is the work of education; all politics can do is keep us out of war.” We can celebrate and honor our veterans best by promoting non-violence and peace within our Montessori classrooms, our families, our communities, and our world.
http://www.peacemontessori.com/new/ Peace Montessori is devoted to the philosophy of Dr. Maria Montessori . We apply her principles for the education of children ages 2 to 12 to achieve academic excellence for each child. We emphasize learning with respect for all people and cultures. We strive to create a carefully prepared environment so that our children will freely interact and grow in peaceful harmony with their friends, family, and society.
DECLARATION OF PEACE AND SOCIAL JUSTICE American Montessori Society Third Annul Global Forum March 1, 2009 New Orleans, LA <ul><li>Montessori educators and the children and families we influence, can make a difference in bringing about peace, reconciliation, social justice, equality in opportunities, and co-existence. Therefore, I commit and pledge to work on a partnership society that: </li></ul><ul><li>Fosters peace within myself through personal and spiritual growth. </li></ul><ul><li>Promotes peaceful relationships with others through the appreciation of diversity and the respect of individual differences. </li></ul><ul><li>Works for peaceful solutions to social and political problems through a common understanding of peace. </li></ul><ul><li>Inspires others to advocate for peace and justice in all areas of individual, family, school, community, and organizational interactions. </li></ul>
We, the undersigned, agree that Peace is a basic human right based on the respect, caring, and nurturing of others and nature, and the celebration of diversity, differences, and harmonious co-existence. This right is expressed across cultural boundaries, leading us to a universal understanding of peace. It is with this consciousness that we move into the 21st century with love, unity, and goodwill for all humankind.
Introduction to Peace Education Peace Education and the Peace Curriculum are based on the teachings of Dr. Maria Montessori and her son Mario Montessori. "Avoiding war is the work of politics, establishing peace is the work of education" is one of the basic tenets of Maria Montessori. Her vision and goal was the reconstruction of society and the establishment of world peace with the help of education. For her efforts she was nominated for the Nobel Peace. To convey the true concept of peace to students from preschool to high school is intrinsic in the curricula she designed for them. On the preschool level it is the cumulative aspect of individual intellectual, spiritual and hands-on experiences which provide the child with an age appropriate comprehension of the concept of peace and the interdependence of life on Earth.
The people of the world, although extremely different, all share the same fundamental needs, which are fulfilled by the animal, plant and mineral kingdoms. At the advanced level of education this comprehension may empower students with the vision of a Science of Peace and the feasibility of World Peace. http://www.montessoriconnections.com/peace_ed/index.php
In 1932 Dr. Montessori addressed the League of Nations in Geneva with the following words: "The Science of Peace, were it to become a special discipline, would be the most noble of all, for the very life of humanity depends on it. So, also perhaps, does the question of whether our entire civilization evolves or disappears."
Montessori was convinced that peace, as a state of being, not just absence of hostility and war, is based on the peaceful development and unfoldment of children's innate potential. Individuals who have fulfilled their potential are self-actualized contributors to life, who have found their purpose in life, have self respect and consequent respect and appreciation of others contributions. They are peaceble. They appreciate and collaborate not only with their fellow humans but with all living creatures and the planet on which we live.