“Establishing lasting peace is the work of education.” – Maria Montessori
Too many times over the past few weeks and months we awakened to hear of instability and injustice in our world. We are shaken to our very core with stories of violence from Orlando, Chicago, Dallas, Paris, Nice, Turkey, Baton Rouge and more. As adults, we try to make sense of these situations that make no sense to us at all; we yearn for peace and understanding. And we often ask how we can get there. What can we do?
This weekend, I had the pleasure of listening to Thich Nhat Hanh in this podcast. It is not a new episode, but one that seems particularly relevant. Thich Nhat Hanh is a Buddhist monk who works for peace throughout the world:
“Peace always begins with yourself as an individual, and as an individual you might help build a community of peace….And when the community of a few hundred people knows the practice of peace and brotherhood, and then you can become the refuge for many others who come to you and profit from the practice of peace and brotherhood. And they will join you, and the community gets larger all the time. And the practice of peace and brotherhood will be offered to many other people….”
Establishing peace is at the core of the Montessori philosophy. Cultural studies are central to each and every lesson in the Montessori curriculum. As we share stories of the universe, the coming of life and of humans to earth, and the development of language and mathematics, we are sharing the world with children. We are not only sharing the science and the history of how life began; we are also sharing our interconnectedness and recognizing what it is that binds us. We are establishing a community – a world community. For in a Montessori classroom, we quickly realize that we are more alike than different. We have the same fundamental human needs and depend on each other to survive and thrive.
As Thich Nhat Hahn states, “When you practice looking at people with the eyes of compassion, that kind of practice will become a good habit. And you are capable of looking at the people in such a way that you can see the suffering, the difficulties. And if you can see, then compassion will naturally flow from your heart.”
Teaching compassion and peace underlies all we do at Wilmington Montessori School.