|Photo courtesy of: Canadian Military History|
Education and Peace, p. 35.
Around the world, November 11 is recognized as a day to honor the men and women who have served and continue to serve during times of war, conflict, and peace. In Canada and many other countries, November 11 is called Remembrance Day. In the United States it is Veterans Day. As Montessori teachers, we show respect on this special day by bringing information to the students and drawing connections to our classrooms and to their lives.
Activities Observing Remembrance Day and Veterans Day in the Montessori Classroom
Each year, leading up to Remembrance Day, I like to have a circle with my students and ask them to brainstorm what our classroom would be like if we could not agree on something or find a solution to a problem peacefully. I further ask them to imagine what our country would be like if we did not know how to solve our problems peacefully. After the students have realized the importance of using our virtues (tolerance, compassion, respect, peacefulness, honesty, tact) to solve our difficulties in peaceful ways, I discuss how historically, we have not always managed to find peaceful solutions to problems. We also discuss the significance to a country when they are not able to work out problems peacefully.
In addition to helping the students understand the value in continually moving forward in our quest for universal peace, I take time to discuss and reflect on the sacrifices made by people in our military. When discussing Remembrance Day and Veteran’s Day, we stress that this is a special day to honor those who have served our country so we can lead free, peaceful lives. I also explain that one way we honor our veterans and service people is to wear a poppy as a symbol of our remembrance.
After our discussions, the students are invited to participate in activities that focus on honoring our service people and explore the significance of the poppy. Our Casa students often trace the quatrefoil from the Metal Insets to create a poppy and then color it red. They then wear their poppies leading up to this special day as a way to remember those who sacrificed for us and as a reminder for us to solve our difficulties in peaceful ways. Our elementary students often learn about poetry and write poems about peace during this time. They also make artistic poppies from tissue paper or painted coffee filters to display in our school and their homes.
As a school, we show our respect on November 11th at 11 o’clock in the morning by having a moment of silence and reflection for the sacrifices of those who have served our countries and their advancement towards universal peace.
Maria Montessori viewed children as peacemakers, capable of transforming the world around them.
I try to find opportunities to empower our students in their role as peacemakers throughout the year and make connections to this special day.
© North American Montessori Center - originally posted in its entirety at Montessori Teacher Training on Thursday, October 29, 2015.