Sunday, June 20, 2010

The Peace Table

One of the most beautiful aspects of the Montessori classroom is the peace curriculum.  The core aspect of the peace curriculum is the peace table.  The peace table is a little retreat where children can go to solve problems with their friends.  It's set up in quiet area of the classroom, and children may not bring work to this table.  Typically, there is a peace rose set up on the table in a vase.  The peace rose is used to aid the children in peaceful conversation.  (I will write a post specifically about the peace rose at a later date.)  When a child feels upset, or needs to work out a problem with a peer, he or she walks to the peace table for reflection.  In the beginning of the year, the teachers model proper use of the peace table and proper turn-taking during discussion.  The children catch on quickly and oftentimes the younger students think up problems so they can go to the peace table and "work it out".  The teachers try not to get involved, but stand nearby just in case conversations become heated. 

The peace table is not used as a time out or as a punishment.  It is merely a tool used to aid in problem solving. 

Many teachers place beautiful, cultural artifacts on the table for individual children who wish to reflect.  These artifacts should be changed often to maintain interest.

Book of interest:
The Peace Rose

The peace table can easily be implemented in your home.  Set up a small table with two chairs.  If possible, read "The Peace Rose" to your children and demonstrate use of the peace rose with your spouse or a friend. Explain that the peace table should be used by to people in need of a discussion or one person who wishes to be alone.  As soon as an argument begins, insist that your children sit at the peace table.  Demand respect during this time.  Only one person may speak at a time--the person with the peace rose.  Mom and Dad should role-play at the table sporadically to maintain interest in the peace table and to remind children of the guidelines.  Children will develop deeper, more respectful relationships through this activity.

No comments:

Post a Comment