September 20, 2019
The second pillar for Montessori School of Anderson is: Universal Values. Our MSA Blueprint states: “The development of a strongly-held set of universal values, which include respect of self and others, honesty, integrity, responsibility, empathy, and a willingness to work out conflicts peacefully.”
Each one of those values could be looked at individually but for the purpose of our Montessori Matters, we are going to look at just one – the willingness to work out conflicts peacefully. This central idea is also a part of our Peace Pledge which we say every Monday at the flagpole after the Pledge of Allegiance. We state and hopefully believe that “peace is NOT the absence of conflict but the willingness to work out conflicts peacefully.”
Children at MSA begin their peace walk by watching their toddler teachers model the appropriate apology to the offended child. Before the toddler can form words or even remorse, the apology from the adult in behalf of the offending child sets the stage for later modeling and understanding.
In primary, we ask children who are having a dispute to go the “peace table” where they sit as young negotiators for a peaceful resolution. Many times, two children themselves, will decide “it is Peace Table time” and go there without any adult intervention. In most Montessori classrooms, there is a simple formula to follow which the children learn early on in their first few weeks in school. The offended child states first about the hurt – physical or emotional. The offending child listens and then repeats back the words and feelings he has just heard. 90% of the time – that is enough to resolve many young issues. As many times as I have witnessed this process through the years and through the grade levels, I am always amazed being a quiet witness to this “magic.”
Senior Abby Keenan captured these three photos showing the peace table process in Primary.
As the children mature through elementary and middle grades, classrooms have more advanced processes for dealing with issues. MSA children develop ability to deal with these more complex “injustices” of mainly hurt feelings. And by no means am I here to tell you that there aren’t still plenty of those floating around as young adolescents try to figure out who they are and aren’t, what battles are worth fighting and which ones aren’t.
Middle School can be the roughest, toughest time to deal with conflicts. Emotions are totally worn on hormonal shirt sleeves. “Nobody likes me; Esmeralda was whispering behind my back today,” common complaints still heard at any adolescent’s home, only now they don’t tend to forget it as easily as a younger child.
But by the time Montessori students move into high school, they become an interesting cohesive group, despite disparate temperaments, who have worked out lots of kinks. Many often participate in a Model United Nations honing their skills even further.
The take-away? By the time a young person leaves MSA having been here a while, hopefully three things of great universal value stand out:
Conflict is inevitable – no matter who, what, where, when, or why.
Conflict is a door to another universe - the universe of the other: other friend, other political party, other nation.
Momentary peace is ultimately dependent on how those involved are willing to go the Peace Table, really listen and empathize, and negotiate compatible solutions. Sometimes even agreeing to disagree is the best for the moment. The important step? Just the willingness to be “vulnerable” is the step that makes the difference.
What do YOU think: Might the ability to do “deep listening” (the kind that involves not thinking of a response before the speaker has even finished) go a long way in helping solve 70% of our own and the world’s problems! Come join us any Monday at 12:30 out at the flagpole for a moment of community and reflection of some very important universal values.
Dates to Remember
September 16-27 - MAP Growth testing (grades 2-9)
September 21 - International Day of Peace (celebrating Monday, September 23)
September 26 - Toddler Three Covered Dish Dinner
September 27 - Planet PJ Party (Primary)
October 8 - Family, Food, and Philosophy event
October 10 - Classroom Campout (LE and UE)
October 11 - Early dismissal for professional development, no extended care
October 14-18 - Fall Break, extended day available
See here for the full, interactive calendar.
Toddler Covered-Dish Dinners
Toddler Two families met this past Thursday for their covered-dish dinner, and the children had a blast seeing each other after-hours while the families got to know each other. A few pictures from the event can be seen below, and this preview album has more. Look for the remaining photos in a future issue of Montessori Matters!
Toddler Three's dinner is this Thursday; we hope to see all of the Toddler Three families there!
Toddler Works and a Frog Adventure
Lower Elementary Peace Lessons
Times have changed, and science has made great progress, and so has our work; but our principles have only been confirmed, and along with them our conviction that mankind can hope for a solution to its problems, among which the most urgent are those of peace and unity, only by turning its attention and energies to the discovery of the child and to the development of the great potentialities of the human personality in the course of its formation. ~Maria Montessori