Cultivating Peace In Children

What is an education for peace?

Can small children learn to resolve their conflicts with honesty and with words?

How do we build a community of respect and courtesy in a classroom?

Can we find a way to extend the sense of community and peace to the world outside the classroom?

These objectives are inherent in the Montessori philosophy of education.  Dr. Maria Montessori recognized the spirit of love within all children and emphasized the need to educate children about themselves, their community, other cultures, and the environment.

This concept can be represented by the flower of peace model - by studying the relationship of body, mind, emotions, and spirit.  Children develop a greater sense of self-confidence and well-being through these activities.  They develop a sense of peace within themselves.

Children benefit so much from being able to do the hands-on stuff and working with other students because they get this sense of working together, trusting in themselves, and independence from adults along with the interdependence within the community.

It really helps them grow as people and be responsible within the classroom.  Children learn grace, courtesy, and respect for others.  They learn to cooperate, take responsibility for their actions, and resolve differences peacefully.  As children grow older, they develop a sense of responsibility to the community outside the classroom.

From an early age, the Montessori curriculum focuses on building an understanding of and compassion for other people.  Respect for basic human rights is integrated into the study of diverse cultures.

In a Montessori classroom, children learn how to be stewards of the environment.  This is done by encouraging children to take care of the environment both inside and outside the classroom.

Whether at home or in the classroom, there’s a simple activity all adults can do to help cultivate peace in children - reading books!  Below are some of our favorite books to read together.

Books about Peace and the “Pieces” that Help Make Peace!

Aline Wolf, Our Peaceful Classroom (Montessori inspired)

Alicia Jewell, The Peace Rose (Montessori inspired)

Sonnie McFarland, Honoring the Light of the Child: Activities to Nurture Peaceful Living Skills in Young Children (Montessori inspired)

Grace Byers, I Am Enough

Tami Charles, All Because you Matter

Nathalie Goss, We All Belong: A Children's Book about Diversity, Race, and Empathy

Cheri Meiners, Accept and Value Each Person

Cheri Meniers, Talk and Work it Out

Mem Fox, Whoever you Are

Bob Sornson and Maria Dismondy, The Juice Box Bully: Empowering Kids to Stand up for Others

Bob Sornson, Stand in My Shoes: Kids Learning about Empathy

Lauren Payne, We Can Get Along: A Child’s Book of Choices

Minda Devorkin, Beau the Bee

Sesame Street, We’re Different, We’re the Same

Jayneen Sanders, You, Me and Empathy

Maud Roegiers, Take the Time: Mindfulness for Kids

Paul Showers, The Listening Walk

Tomie dePaola, Quiet

Scott Magoon, Breathe

Gabi Snyder and Stephanie Graegin, Listen

Samantha Berger, The ABC’s of Kindness

Elizabeth Cole, Kindness Makes me Stronger: The Children’s Book of the Magic of Kindness and Empathy

Elizabeth Verdick, Words Are Not for Hurting

Jacquelyn Stagg, At School: Kindness Starts with you

Shelly Moore Thomas, Somewhere Today: A Book of Peace

Lisa Cox and Lori Hockema, Not Yet

We hope you and your family are enriched by the time you spend together reading and talking about peace.  Together, we can create a more harmonious and peaceful planet for all of us.