... experience social change and justice in the Peace Flower.
Maria Montessori once wrote, “Establishing lasting peace is the work of education.” As such, the Peace Flower – an integral part of an elementary student’s experience at Thevenet Montessori School – shines bright within our Upper Elementary classroom. On each brilliant yellow petal is a heading that guides students in understanding the connectedness of all life and appreciating each person’s and community’s influential call to care for humanity and wildlife.
The first petal that students encounter is labeled Self-Awareness. Montessori lessons and materials are designed to build a child’s confidence as he or she embraces academic and practical life practical life challenges as well as social changes. The Montessori teacher acts as a guide in furthering the child’s self-discovery through introspection, socialization, and academic endeavors. Reflection upon the consequences of individual actions brings us to our second petal, Community Awareness. Through food donations and clothing drives, students realize their potential to change the lives of people in their community. Upper Elementary students led a schoolwide Thanksgiving Donation drive, collecting food donations from classrooms and packaging the items for delivery. An unmistakable spirit shines forth from a child who understands his or her power to not only act independently but also to follow the teacher’s keen example of stewardship.
Subsequently, our third petal reminds us of the importance of Environmental Awareness. The students experience the earth on the bountiful property of Thevenet. Students learn to identify the varying woodland creatures and plant life that share our school grounds. The Upper Elementary students took great pleasure in participating in a winter long bird watch and raising pheasants during the 2015-2016 school year. This year, students are furthering their knowledge of sustainability, ecosystems, pollution, agriculture, and geography as they study STEAM concepts and social studies lessons. The study of the environment and cultures of ancient times creates an inspirational foundation for experiencing our final petal, Cultural Awareness. The students are guided in their understanding of the intricate dynamic between environment and culture. Children studying ancient times connect the diverse ways of life in BCE to modern day customs. An appreciation of humankind’s global passage through time is fostered through lessons and sharing in cultural celebrations regardless of ancestry. The unique ability to culminate a child’s student-directed schooling experience as the experiment of self-awareness, community awareness, environmental awareness and cultural awareness is a crucial academic element in times when peacemakers are central. Maria Montessori still speaks to the important journey today’s children face when she wrote, “Within the child lies the fate of the future.”
Susan Avenengo, Teacher
Upper Elementary, 9 – 11 years
old Thevenet Montessori School