A thought from our Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) Montessori team to further develop our shared understanding of the philosophy.
“Establishing lasting peace is the work of education; all politics can do is keep us out of war” Maria Montessori
Most people think that Maria Montessori just worked on education, but she believed that the path to peace is in the education we give our children. This is why she did a lot of work for global peace and earned three nominations for a Nobel Peace Prize.
In our classrooms peace is indirectly supported by the children learning to live in harmony with others, to take care of their resources and environments, to respect others and to be considerate of living things. Children and adults create a culture of kindness and harmony by working together.
Through “Grace and Courtesy” groups we model appropriate behaviour and the child is given the opportunity to practise it. By observing the behaviour and practicing it themselves the children become self-aware and responsible for their actions. Some examples of these presentations are: how to receive a gift or thank one another, how to resolve conflict, how to share our feelings, how to ask for help, how to interrupt one another by saying excuse me. The child to respond positively to others through experience. As the children develop these skills at a young age, they become part of their characters. As they grow, these abilities will help them throughout their lives both in personal and professional settings.
It is us adults that must look into our habits and attitudes. Are our actions, language and relationships appropriate? Could they influence the child’s development? To encourage children to live well with others we need to model the appropriate behaviour whether it is at home, school, the office or at the supermarket, whether it is with family, a colleague, a friend or a stranger.