International Day of Peace, 2022
Peace Like A River: Inner Peace and the Prepared Environment
International Day of Peace is being observed today, September 21, 2022. This is the day that the United Nations (UN) invites all countries and people to honor cessation of hostilities during the day and raise important issues. The actual purpose of universal peace day is to foster acceptance by engaging all the people to make a commitment towards peace by remaining non-violent. This day is an ambition to remove all the differences amongst each other and build a culture of peace everywhere.
This year’s theme “End Racism Build Peace” was chosen because “Racism continues to poison institutions, social structures, and everyday life in every society. It continues to be a driver of persistent inequality. And it continues to deny people their fundamental human rights. It destabilizes societies, undermines democracies, erodes the legitimacy of governments, and… the linkages between racism and gender inequality are unmistakable.” Click here to learn more.
Today’s acknowledgement and commitment aligns with the Montessori approach. She always, through her writings, actions and pedagogy, advocated for educating for peace. Thus, this has been at the core of our work with children around the world. Dr. Montessori’s belief that the spiritual and social revolution of humankind will only be realized through the child. Our approach to sharing history and the stories that we tell to reveal how people meet our fundamental human needs has allowed Montessorians to focus on our uniqueness, our similarities, and peace efforts around the globe that help us connect as a human race.
AMI/USA staff, members, board directors, and stakeholders “acknowledge that building and maintaining an inclusive, racially equitable culture will be never-ending and that ever-lasting transformation requires courage, persistence, unwavering commitment, and individual and collective accountability.” Read our full equity statement here.
It will serve us well to never forget the fragility of peace and racial harmony, especially in these days of social unrest and violent war. The responsibility of each prepared guide is to foster these values in the Montessori environment and work to dismantle systems and methods which do not support them.
Dr. Montessori envisioned the guide as a temporary scaffold by which a permanent, stronger foundation would be built for the construction of a renewed society. Embedded within her educational theory is the idea that children, though they may be unaware of their inherent and collective value to the world, are equipped with the tools to build a more cohesive society that can be free from war, racism, and oppression. Dr. Montessori’s work guides us toward spiritual preparation that leads one to lay down prejudice, intolerance, and racism if they are to fully serve the child. If the vision of a society is to be centered around unity and cooperation of humankind, how can racism endure within the Montessorian’s heart, or within the schools or in the classroom? An environment cannot be fully prepared if it bears the thumbprint of colonialism, oppression, or bias (be it conscious or unconscious). If the children are to be taught unity, love, and selflessness, it stands to reason that all Montessorians model unity, love and selflessness.
On this International Day of Peace, I challenge each one reading this to commit to the necessary work of self-interrogation and self-reflection that can lead to spiritual transformation. In this vein, may we remember what Dr. Montessori has taught us. “Peace is a practical principle of human civilization and social organization that is based on the very nature of Man. Peace does not enslave him; rather, it exalts him… and because it is based on man’s nature, it is a constant, a universal principle that applies to all human beings. This principle must be our guide in building a science of peace and educating men for peace.” – Maria Montessori, Education and Peace
Montessori, M. Education and Peace, Vol. 10, The Clio Montessori Series, Montessori-Pierson Publishing Company. The Netherlands.
About Our Guest Writer
Frank George IV, our guest writer, is a graduate of the 2021-2022 Southwest Institute of Montessori Studies (SIMS) Elementary Diploma Course in Phoenix and serves as a lead Upper Elementary Guide at the Community Montessori School of Lexington in Kentucky. Originally from Portland, Oregon, his Montessori journey began in a spiritual, earth-centered Montessori school steeped in the Franciscan tradition, while being centered in Sanatana Dharma as an American Hindu. During his time as an Assistant there, his roots as a Montessorian grew from a deep connectedness with the universal spirit of the child, and the awareness that peace must guide our steps as we guide the child toward the future. As such, analyzing the factors contributing to peace within the guide, the child, the community, and the world have become a central focus of his life, especially as it pertains to the prepared environment and the spiritual preparation of the guide.