September 21, 2021
International Day of Peace is celebrated each year on September 21. This day was started in 1981 by the United Nations General Assembly to recognize the efforts of those who have worked hard to end conflict and promote peace. The day is marked by 24 hours of non-violence and cease-fire. The theme of this year’s Day of Peace is “Recovering better for an equitable and sustainable world.”
With the United States’ recent withdrawal from Afghanistan, thus ending our country’s longest war, the topic of peace and war is at the front of our national conversation. It is not lost on Montessorians that Maria Montessori was considered one of the leaders in developing peace education, and believed the way children are taught would lead to a more peaceful world. In fact, she believed that education was the only way to end war permanently.
While this may seem like a stretch, it is not far from the truth. The very nature of a Montessori classroom and the methods of instruction, student choice, and engagement, lead to a calm and peaceful environment. Self-discipline is emphasized over discipline. The fact students are encouraged to be independent and critical thinkers is a hallmark of preserving democracy. Montessori students are taught at a very young age to resolve differences at the peace table or peace corner. There are implicit and explicit moments in the curriculum that allow children to see themselves as global citizens. They understand their actions have positive and negative consequences depending on which direction they choose.
So it is not a leap to suggest that a Montessori-educated child can appreciate the need for peace. And while they may not all become peace activists, their mindset, world view, and personal countenance can all contribute to a more peaceful world.