Monday, April 20, 2009

Earth Day: Celebrating Peace and Environmental Awareness in the Montessori Classroom

The child is both a hope and promise for mankind. (Maria Montessori, Education and Peace, pg. 66)
NAMC Montessori peace curriculum environmental awareness earth day activities
Earth Day 2009 is on Wednesday, April 22. What a wonderful time to share Maria Montessori’s vision of peace through discussion on the beauty of the earth, the interdependence of living things, and the role that each human plays in the preservation of the Earth.

The Peace curriculum in the Montessori classroom should be an active part of the curriculum, as it is so uniquely interwoven into the Montessori Method. Children of all ages can participate and learn about environmental awareness and peace. Here are a few ideas:

Earth Day: Celebrating Peace and Environmental Awareness in the Montessori Classroom

NAMC Montessori peace curriculum environmental awareness earth day activities pillow
Hug-the-Earth (thanks to Josh Galarza)

What You Need:
  • Age-appropriate Earth Day book (Children of the Earth…Remember; The Family of Earth; Dear Children Of The Earth, all by Schim Schimmel are some of my favorites)
  • Hug-a-Planet Earth Pillow (available from Montessori Services) or an inflatable globe
What You Do:
  • Invite the children to come to a circle (or line).
  • Tell the children that today you will be reading a book about our planet earth.
  • Now, show the children your planet earth ball. Give it a big hug while stating one thing you love about the earth.
  • Encourage each child in the circle to hug the earth and make a similar statement.
  • Afterward, discuss ways they think they can help protect the planet and the creatures mentioned in the books.
NAMC Montessori peace curriculum environmental awareness earth day activities kiss a frog
Pledge to the Earth

I was looking for something that would make an impact with my Montessori upper elementary students. I really like the Earth Flag (available from Montessori Services) and thought about how great it would be if we had a “Pledge to the Earth” like our “Pledge of Allegiance” to the United States Flag. I found one online (see Materials list below) but then I thought, wouldn't it make an even greater impact to write one ourselves?

What You Need:
  • Earth Flag
  • Copies of the Earth Pledge for each student
  • Earth Day books (such as is suggested above)
  • Whiteboard and markers
  • Slips of paper and pencils
What You Do:
  • Invite the children to come to a circle (or line).
  • Talk about how you want to share a book with them about the earth.
  • Read the book aloud; even upper elementary students love a good picture book!
  • Pass around copies of the Earth Pledge.
  • Brainstorm, using the whiteboard, ways they can make a difference in the world.
  • Invite each student to write their “pledge” on the slips of paper.
  • Collect the pledges and have a few students use them to create your classroom's Montessori Pledge to the Earth.
  • Students who feel they are up to the challenge are then encouraged to sign the pledge.
  • You may wish to frame and post the pledge near your Earth Flag. Each day you can take turns reading one of the “pledge points” as a reminder.
Each and every day should be a celebration of peace in your Montessori Classroom. Let’s not wait for a holiday, but constantly model for our students what it means to live a peaceful life, in all areas, not just within the Montessori community.

Further ideas for Earth Day Activities:
The NAMC curriculum manuals provide a fully integrated curriculum to foster peace awareness, understanding and stewardship of the earth.

See last year’s Earth Day blog: Earth Day Information and Activities to Celebrate in the Montessori Classroom.
As much as possible, NAMC’s web blog reflects the Montessori curriculum as provided in its teacher training programs. We realize and respect that Montessori schools are unique and may vary their schedules and offerings in accordance with the needs of their individual communities. We hope that our readers will find our articles useful and inspiring as a contribution to the global Montessori community.
© North American Montessori Center - originally posted in its entirety at Montessori Teacher Training on Monday, April 20, 2009.

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