Maria Montessori said, “Establishing lasting peace is the work of education.” In the Cedar Room, we are doing the work of establishing peace one classroom issue at a time. At the end of each week, we gather for Peace Circle. One child, the leader of that week’s circle, prepares the discussion. Throughout the week, children are invited to reflect on conflicts by writing what they notice on slips of paper that they put into our peace box. These notes are the resource for our peace circle leader, as
he or she chooses community problems for us to address. We light a candle, and use a talking stick to moderate our thoughtful conversation. The children focus not on blaming, but on solutions for such problems as,
“People are writing on other people’s stuff.”
“People are talking about people behind their backs.”
And “People are leaving pea on the toelet seat.” (spelling authentic)
Through peaceful conversation, our children learn to own the process of creating peace in the community. While we adults might be easily able to hand down rules to solve conflicts, we are handing power and responsibility directly to the children. Our belief is that by owning the process, they also own the peace, and investing in peace, we see that they also treasure it. No problem is too small to help us learn our way toward peace. May the way our children work through these small problems help give them confidence when it is time for them to solve the big ones.