“Establishing lasting peace is the work of education; all politics can do is keep us out of war.” Maria Montessori
The path to world peace begins with education for the young child. The classroom is a microcosm of society at large. When children learn to be at peace with one another in the classroom, they can later be at peace as adults. As Mahatma Gandhi said, “If we are to create peace in our world, we must begin with our children.”
Children develop naturally if they are allowed to follow their inner guide. Maria Montessori observed that if children are given an optimal environment where they can follow their own innate drive to learn, they then achieve a state of Normalization. This state is characterized by concentration, self-discipline, social grace as well as inner peace.
In a Montessori classroom, children as young as 3 years old are shown how to respect each other’s space and work. For example, a teacher will demonstrate how to observe another child working without touching or interrupting them. Children are given lessons on how to resolve conflict with others. They are coached on how to express their feelings and needs to others without violence. This gives the children the tools they need to resolve their differences and thrive peacefully.
Montessori education also emphasizes multicultural study. The focus is on learning about other cultures and discovering the common elements they share. Children begin to see that people around the world have similar needs and wants – for family, shelter, friendship, education, and security, though they pursue these in different ways. They thus learn to respect and understand each other, which is the foundation for peace.
-Marla Nargundkar, AMI Montessori
Guide Tree of Life Montessori School