Did you know that it was the International Day of Peace this week on September 21, 2010?
The International Day of Peace, also known as the World Peace Day, occurs annually on September 21. It is dedicated to peace, or specifically the absence of war, such as might be occasioned by a temporary ceasefire in a combat
zone. It is observed by many nations, political groups, military
groups, and peoples. The first year this holiday was celebrated was
1981. To inaugurate the day, the "Peace Bell" is rung at UN Headquarters. The bell is cast from coins donated by children from all continents. It was given as a gift by the Diet of Japan,
and is referred to as "a reminder of the human cost of war." The
inscription on its side reads: "Long live absolute world peace.
If you have a have a child who attends a Montessori school it is very likely that the participated in Peace Day celebrations. Below are some updates on celebrations that were held this week at Montessori schools in New Zealand and the United States.
Is there anything that could be better than teaching young children from early on about how to problem solve in a peaceful way? Peace is something that we all strive for around the world. Maria Montessori believed that world peace began with the children.
"Establishing lasting peace is the work of education; all politics can do is keep us out of war."
"If help and salvation are to come, they can only come from the children, for the children are the makers of men."
"The first idea the child must acquire is that of the difference between good and evil."
"Within the child lies the fate of the future."
Maria's words remain as true today as when she first wrote them. It is for all of these reasons that teaching, practicing and celebrating peace with young children is so important.
From New Zealand -
Healing Trees for Peace
ginkgo trees were planted at the park during the festivities organised
by Operation Peace Through Unity (OPTU) and United Nations Association
of New Zealand (UNANZ) Wanganui. That was followed by a performance by
students from Wanganui Montessori Preschool and a minute's of silence
for peace at midday.
UNANZ local president Kate Smith said the
trees were chosen as a symbol of peace for their healing properties. The
trees also mark the beginning of the Trees for Peace movement, which
plans to plant 141 more throughout Wanganui by October 2, the birthday
of peace advocate Mahatma Ghandi.
Wanganui District Council
representative Nicki Higgie, Montessori Preschool teacher Polly Allen
and Wanganui High School student Meredith Paterson planted the trees,
with a little help from some pre-school students.
Light a Candle for Peace
The first notes rang out at 6 p.m. Monday Central time at Montessori schools in New Zealand.
By 11 a.m. Tuesday, "Light a Candle for Peace" was being sung by children at the Montessori Habitat School in Champaign, more than halfway around the globe.
Montessori schools joined together Tuesday to "Sing peace around the world" as a tribute to the United Nations' International Day of Peace, and to the memory of Maria Montessori and other peace activists.
The singing started in New Zealand, then was picked up by school after school across time zones – 80,000 children in 35 countries – so that it would circle the globe in 24 hours.
In the United States
of all Time was a big hit at Louisville's JFK Montessori School Tuesday
morning. Muhammad Ali and the Ali Center announced the global launch of
the Muhammad Ali Peace Gardens.
It's an effort to teach children how to build
gardens as a way to learn more about respect for diverse cultures and
nutrition. The students enjoyed their time with Ali, as they shared
their stories and showed off their own garden.
Greg Roberts of the Muhammad Ali Center
explained, "What a wonderful opportunity that we have now that Muhammad
Ali Peace Gardens will be all over the world, and that the kids here
started it. So when we talk about Louisville as a Possibility City, it
is possible, and that it all started here, and it started with you."
Yum Brands and Whole Foods are partners in making the project a success. Story here.
Pinwheels for Peace
Although the international peace symbol is older than their parents,
students at First Montessori School of Atlanta incorporated it into
their artwork for Pinwheels for Peace. On Sept. 21, students, ages 6-14,
placed approximately 200 pinwheels in front of their campus to mark the
International Day of Peace. FMSA is located at 5750 Long Island Drive
Started in 2005 by two Florida teachers, Pinwheels for Peace has
grown substantially over the years. Children and adults planted 3
million pinwheels around the world in 2009.
"This project is an excellent way for students to express their
feelings about what is going on around the world and in their lives,"
says Jerri King, head of schools at First Montessori School of Atlanta.
"Global awareness and mutual respect are two of the school's core
values. Pinwheels for Peace is not a political statement. Pinwheels
remind us of a time as children when things were simple, joyful and
Art teacher Theresa Dean coordinated the FMSA project. Students wrote
their thoughts about war, peace, tolerance and living in harmony with
others on one side of the pinwheel. On the other side, they drew,
painted or collaged something that expresses their feelings.
Imagination, creativity and a mild breeze are the only requirements.
"The pinwheels spinning in the wind will hopefully spread thoughts
and feelings about peace throughout the country and the world," explains
Dean. Story here.