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:
- 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.
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!
© North American Montessori Center - originally posted in its entirety at Montessori Teacher Training on Tuesday, December 17, 2013.