With exposure to today’s world events, elementary and middle school students may have begun to get a sense of the complications that can come with war. As a Montessori teacher, a national holiday like Veterans Day can provide an interesting backdrop and context for history lessons. Remembering the men and women who died serving your country to uphold its values can be a strong contextual basis for lessons in history. Honoring veterans and discussing the significance of their sacrifice can create an opportunity for teaching tolerance, citizenship, and peace.
Veterans Day and Remembrance Day in the Montessori Classroom: Promoting History and ServiceBegin by helping students to unveil the history of Veterans Day (Remembrance Day in Canada). Fighting ceased during World War I on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month and therefore, November 11, 1918 is known as the end of “The Great War.” The following year, President Wilson declared November 11 as Armistice Day which was celebrated with parades and a break in the business day that began at 11:00 a.m. On May 13, 1938 an act made Armistice Day a legal holiday. After the great efforts made by American soldiers in World War II and the Korean War, legislation was passed in 1954 to rename Armistice Day and create Veterans Day, a day to honor all American veterans. In the early 1970s, the date of Veterans’ Day was changed but was quickly reinstated to November 11. Veterans’ Day continues to be observed on November 11 with parades, ceremonies and the closing of many businesses for the day.
Please take a moment to review these related NAMC November 11 blogs:
- The Importance of Veteran’s (Remembrance) Day: November 11
- Celebrating Veteran's Day with Montessori Activities
- Study the significance of the poppy for this day of remembrance. Create poppy-themed art (painting, tissue paper flowers, origami, etc.), and explore related literature (i.e., poetry).
- Veterans Day and Remembrance Day are ideal occasions for service in your school’s community. Contact your local veterans’ organizations for opportunities.
- Invite family members, or members of your community who are veterans to speak with the class.
- Students could prepare and serve a breakfast for veterans in your community.
- Research any of the major wars or create a timeline of all wars in which North Americans have participated.
- The books and web resources below provide more information and ideas for further studies.
- Veterans Day, by Jacqueline S. Cotton
- Veterans Day: Remembering Our War Heroes, by Elaine Landau
- H Is for Honor: A Millitary Family Alphabet, by Devin Scillian and Victor Juhasz
- The Wall, by Eve Bunting and Ronald Himler
- America's White Table, by Margot Theis Raven and Mike Benny
- Remembrance Day, by Liz Gogerly
- The Story of Remembrance Day, by Monica Hughes
© North American Montessori Center - originally posted in its entirety at Montessori Teacher Training on Tuesday, November 10, 2009.