Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Encouraging Peace in the Montessori Environment with a Peace Basket

“Peace is all around us.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh

namc montessori encouraging peace basket

It is hard to be good all the time when you are a child. And with the buildup of holiday anticipation, children, especially the youngest ones, are bound to experience some frustration. Montessori told us there is no such thing as a naughty child. She believed that a temper tantrum comes from the child’s frustration at his inability to adequately express his needs to those around him.

One way to help children deal with their emotions and find peace is to introduce a peace basket into the classroom. A peace basket contains items that are meant to help children feel calm and self-soothe.


Making a Peace Basket to Encourage Peace in the Montessori Classroom


Some ideas for contents include:

NAMC montessori by hand children's yoga poses peace basket

  • Laminated children’s yoga-poses cards (Montessori by Hand has a lovely set)
  • Mandalas to color. Mandalas are Hindu and Buddhist spiritual symbols that represent the universe.
  • Some books on feelings and behavior such as Hands are Not for Hitting from the Best Behavior Series by Elizabeth Verdick and Marieka Heinlen.
  • A recording of peaceful nature sounds.
  • A few small, polished stones.
  • An I Spy bottle, which you can learn to make at Counting Coconuts.
  • A “mind jar” that children can use as a meditation tool. The jar is filled with a tablespoon of colored glitter-glue, a cup of hot water, food coloring, and a small container of glitter. The child shakes the jar and watches the glitter settle again. The five minutes it takes for the glitter to settle is the often the perfect amount of time for the child to experience calm.

NAMC montessori encouraging peace basket mandala

Having a peace basket in the Montessori environment where the children may access it as needed allows them to take charge of their emotions. They may quietly find a way to center themselves when they feel agitated, sad, angry, or frustrated. As children develop the ability to self-regulate, they become better able to engage in mindful, intentional, and thoughtful behaviors. Model the use of the peace basket by using it yourself. You may be surprised at how much better you feel, too!
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 Tuesday, December 17, 2013.

2 comments:

  1. What age group would you suggest this for and what sort of space would you suggest having it? Could you give an example scenario of when a child may be directed to it?

    ReplyDelete
  2. I have seen a peace basket used with children as young as two years old. Keep it on a shelf in your peace corner, or in a quiet corner of your environment. Rather than directing a child to it, model how to use the peace basket next time the child has a challenging moment. Afterwards, invite him/her to use the peace basket anytime they need to find peace. You may need to model this behavior a few times before they are able to use the peace basket indpendently.

    ReplyDelete

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