Sunday, August 27, 2006

International Day of Peace

The International Day of Peace will be celebrated on September 21, 2006. Visit the website to learn what you can do "in your own backyard" to create a more peaceful world.

Here are a few of the people who have contributed in their own ways to creating peace through education:

MARIA MONTESSORI



I've been immersed in peace education for my entire career. As a Montessori teacher, my main focus has always been on creating an environment for my students that honors each child's need for an emotionally, spiritually, and physically rich, peaceful, and nurturing environment. Peace education begins at home, as parents interact with their children in peaceful and respectful ways. It continues as children progressively move outside the direct sphere of their parents and home.

As the children grow into awareness of the larger world around them, peace education seems like it would become more abstract, but it does not. Peace, like love, is not something that is, it's something we do, every day, in every way. It's woven through the curriculum. It's in every word we speak and in every deed.

RUDOLPH STEINER



I've also studied the work of Rudolph Steiner and have been fascinated with the correlations between his Anthroposophical Studies and Waldorf Education in relation to teaching peace. Here is an amazing article about the "reverse symmetries" of Montessori and Steiner's philosophies.

JOHN DEWEY



John Dewey's Constructivist learning is, like Steiner's work, thought to be very different from Montessori's, but a deep and real look at all three philosophies show that they not only share common threads, but that they are woven from the same cloth. That cloth includes understanding that children have to be active participants in their own learning, that they must have choices, and that it is the adult's responsibility to expose them to an environment that is rich in opportunities for growth and understanding.

Dewey is well described in this poem:

A Philosopher's Faith ~ by John Shook
Inspired by John Dewey

My person returns to unwind all its threads,
Woven by language into the habits of heads;
An old wearied head must bow down one final eve,
But my lively thought shines in cloth I helped to weave.

Your gift by my leave is but some seeds yet to grow,
Whose value was found in times of need long ago;
Sow all of these seeds in our vast garden with care,
Protect and defend the greater harvest to share.

To view such swift change, see truths melt under new suns,
To watch how scared souls kept on refining their guns;
My nation was home despite such strife with no cease,
My freedom was here while humbly searching for peace.

By trial did I live, by more trial find my thought’s worth,
My death you will get if you conceive no new birth;
No life without doubt, for the best fail now and then,
No rest for my faith, that each new day tests again.


The pictures on this post are from a website called Better World Heros. It is empowering to think of the mass of positive energy that has been created by these people. What is even more empowering is thinking of the difference each one of us can make.....

Yes, in our own backyards.

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