Montessori classrooms have peace education and grace and courtesy as a core part of the curriculum. One of the foundational materials for this study is found in our Children’s House classrooms. It is called a Peace Rose.
The Peace Rose is kept in the Peace Area of the classroom, where you would also find materials to help children calm their bodies and learn to regulate actions associated with their emotions. The Peace Rose is kept near pillows and calming books, kaleidoscopes and bottles filled with glittery water. The Peace Rose is a tool to help children learn to talk about their feelings and to listen to others express their feelings and needs.
When children enter the Children’s House they are given a lesson on how to use the Peace Rose and when it is an appropriate time to choose the work.
When a disagreement arises or when feelings have been hurt a child goes to the Peace Area and retrieves the Peace Rose. At this point the child can decide whether or not they feel this is a conversation they can handle on their own or whether they would feel more comfortable with the assistance of a teacher. Once the child has the Peace Rose they take it to their friend. Together the children take turns talking only if they are holding the flower until they have each had the chance to express their feelings and find a resolution together. Children have learned to label many of these feelings in the Birth to Three learning environments as teachers give children words to express their frustrations until they are able to voice them on their own.
Most Peace Rose conversations follow a typical pattern that many Montessorians recognize as a Montessori Message. They begin, “It hurt my feelings when…” and conclude with, “I would like you to…”. Though Elementary age children no longer use a Peace Rose, the foundations of problem solving laid in those messages continue in individual conversations and regular whole class community meetings for those older children.
As peace is a goal for all of us, in ourselves, our school, our families and our world, this simple process of conflict resolution will hopefully encourage these Montessori children to become peaceful adults, who in turn will do their part to transform the world.
“Peace is what every human being is craving for, and it can be brought about by humanity through the child.” -Dr. Maria Montessori