An Education for Peace. The bedrock of Montessori’s philosophy is the notion that we must find a way to live in a more conscious, connected, ultimately peaceful way. Her work, as a doctor and as a teacher, was informed by the experience of living through the horrors of two world wars. She believed that a more a conscious, capable human spirit could be fostered through education.
The Lyceum children began their journeys in Montessori at the age of two and a half. Now in their twelfth year, we see the results. What was once putting the work back on the shelf, ready for the next person, is now a formal structure that has become work in their community, care for their younger peers, a praxis project for local children and participation in Model UN in New York. This year, they presented papers on The Safety of Journalists, The Human Rights Situation in Yemen/Cloudseeding, Sustainable Forests/Sorghum Board and Midwifery in Africa.
Most of this work is intangible, though. Working against a “results based” larger context, we place great emphasis on how they care for themselves and their environment and call to them at every opportunity to actively participate. They are still, as they always have been, steered back toward each other to “solve it”. Sometimes this chafes a bit, occasional squabbles break out, but there are also moments of stepping back and letting another go before you. The result is a truly child-run community and the fringe benefits include delicious plates of sushi, muffins and salads that come out of the kitchen which they share with the adults in their environment.
We opened this year with the Peace Table project in The Lyceum Gallery. This was an exploration of the symbolism we use to express wishes for peace. You can read about it on the gallery page.
Each spring, the children attend the Montessori Model United Nations conference in New York. This year, our students are working on position papers on an array of topics: maternal health in sub-Saharan Africa, sustainable options to deforestation, cloud seeding in Yemen crisis, the promotion of midwifery care and the protection of journalists in war zones. This is an opportunity to prepare and present positions to other students from all over the world. They work together to draft resolutions which are presented in the UN General Assembly Hall.