Friday, October 01, 2010

The Montessori Peace Place: An Important Part of the Classroom

This year long series looks at the experiences of teachers, parents, students, and Montessori education itself, as we follow a student through his first year at a Montessori Preschool. The Montessori Insights and Reflections of a Preschool Student’s First Year is a collection of useful stories, tips, and information that has arisen from one real student's Montessori journey, viewed through the eyes of his Montessori Teacher, Bree Von Nes.

NAMC montessori peace place important part of the classroom girl holding flower

The Peace Place

Dr. Montessori recognized children as the redeeming factor in the evolution of humankind. The Peace Place is a designated space in the environment where children can go to take a moment, calm themselves and work out a problem in a peaceful way.

Our Montessori classroom is small so it has been a challenge to find the perfect spot for the Peace Place, however, I am happy to say that I did! The table I chose is away from the busy work area and right by a big window. The table is just the right size; there are two chairs and on the Peace Table I have placed a beautiful vase with a single rose.

The Montessori Peace Place: An Important Part of the Classroom

The first year I decided to create a Peace Place in the Montessori preschool classroom was about 10 years ago, and I was full of doubt as to how it would be received by my students. The Peace Table itself was beautiful; in fact we had an entire Peace Corner with a Japanese garden, a table water fountain, a basket of beautiful river rocks, a chime, and of course, our Peace Rose! The Montessori preschool classroom then was twice the size of the classroom that I am currently teaching in, so it was easy to allocate an entire corner to our Peace Place.

For the first couple of months, I wondered if the Peace Table was a success, as it was taking a great deal of adult mediation to ensure the appropriate language was being used and to ensure the conflict was being peacefully resolved.

Then one day in early spring of that year, one of my five-year-old students, Cassia approached her friend, Emma and said, “Would you please join me at the Peace Table?” The two girls sat down together and I simply stood back and observed the magic unfold. The girls passed the Peace Rose back and forth and Cassia expressed that she was feeling sad because Emma was working with another classmate instead of her.

After much discussion, they decided to find an activity that all of them could do together. The girls felt so proud to have resolved the issue and all three students sat at the snack table together, tidied up and then each created a flag to take home. It was amazing to observe these young Montessori students solve their issue honestly and fairly and it is amazing how the Montessori Peace Table can help to maintain a harmonious and cooperative atmosphere in the Montessori community.

Bree — NAMC Tutor & Graduate

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 Friday, October 1, 2010.


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