Monday, July 25, 2011

IB - Montessori part 2 - Peace

"Averting war is the work of politicians; establishing peace is the work of education." Maria Montessori

People that follow the work and life of Maria Montessori and the evolution of Montessori education closely have little need for a reminder of the strong connection between her work in schools and her ideal of peace.  Montessori's life and work on 'Peace Education' was engendered by two world wars, work in the slums of Rome, her exile from Italy by Mussolini, the Spanish Civil War and her work at UNESCO and as a UN ambassador.  

At Waterfront Montessori our Primary and Lower Elementary programs set a strong foundation for an understanding of the world and its peoples.  The Lower Elementary student knows peace and the world through mapwork, studying fundamental human needs, and an emphasis on human togetherness.  

The Middle School IB curriculum gives us an opportunity to abstract peace and human relations and cement the concept of peace.  As our students develop into abstract thinkers and continue to challenge subtleties and disconnections between what we say and do, questions invariably arise.  

Why do we fight?
Why does inequality exist?
Why are people sometimes cruel to each other?
What can we do about it?

Even an average IB curriculum is a strong peace education ally because of its focus on internationality and plurality of thought.  By focusing on economics, political geography in context and especially on understanding the mind and motivation of the other, our IB Middle School program asks all the right questions to develop that Early School Montessori foundation.

Open-mindedness is one of the IB learner profiles that we aim to develop in our understanding of peace and human relations.  In our curriculum, we explore iterations of a key question that informs the relationships we have with our classmates, peers and neighbors:

How do our experiences help determine our opinions and who we become?

We can extrapolate that question into the realm of international affairs and peace among nations and peoples.  The most important lesson however, is that the different experiences we've had yesterday will inform our actions and opinions today.  That we are not fundamentally different but have lived different circumstances and that what brings us together is much more powerful than what separates us.  

Our Montessori-IB students develop that question and answer every day.  The strong peace connection of the philosophies make them experts in the field and leaders of Peace Education.

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