Peace in the Classroom Community

“It is interesting to see how little by little, these [children] become aware of forming a community which behaves as such… Once they have reached this level, the children no longer act thoughtlessly, but put the group first and try to succeed for its benefit.

-Maria Montessori

Peace education is not only to be taught; it is most effective as an ongoing experience in the classroom community. Such a community values each member as a unique individual; it encompasses the habits of respect and fairness; it encourages the peaceful resolution of conflicts; and it gives each persona sense of belonging to a group whose combined efforts can be greater than that of any one member.

What does community mean in a classroom? Like a staff community, a classroom is a group of people who come together for a common purpose in a spirit of helpfulness and harmony. Community, I feel, is a very telling word to describe in a Montessori classroom, and a very useful word to use frequently therein. The word community differs from the word team. In the world of sports, people on a team come together for a common purpose, but the purpose is always to beat or get ahead of an opposing team. Community, on the other hand, is not nourished by competition. Rather it is sustained by cooperation, mutual support and delight in each other’s accomplishments.

-Aline D. Wolf

December 2023