July’s Montessori for the Home

~May Peace Prevail on Earth~

Conflicts between parent/child, peers and siblings, are a daily occurrence. These disagreements are a natural part of the human experience. Finding a consistently peaceful way to resolve them is no easy task, especially for younger children. As parents, we find ourselves jumping into the fray with our children, trying to force a conversation, insist on a solution, and fix the problem. This may work in the moment, but we know for longterm results what we should do is give them the tools to resolve conflicts on their own. In a Montessori classroom children are given several tools to help them deal with personal conflicts. One of these tools is a Montessori Peace Table. The Peace table can be a place for children to have quiet time, or it can be used to resolve conflicts. Follow the steps below to create your own peace table at home:

1. First, place a child sized table and two chairs (you may add a table cloth if you like) in a peaceful place in your home, perhaps near a window. The arrangement should be inviting, dainty and comfortable.

2. Second, place a small vase with fresh flowers or a potted plant on the table. The beauty of the table commands respect and identifies it as something special.

3. Third, place a three-minute sand timer on the table.

4. Fourth, find an instrument of peace. This could be a flower or a delicate object, such as a smooth river rock, seashell, or gem that your child may hold while at the table. When in a conflict with a sibling or parent, the person explaining what is wrong will hold the instrument of peace and then pass it when they are finished talking to give the other person involved a chance to voice their side. The instrument of peace is passed back and forth until the conflict is resolved.

5. Fifth, make sure to use quiet voices at the table.

6. Sixth, it’s important to show the children how to use “I feel” descriptions to describe why they’re upset. For example, “When you take my toys without asking first, I feel really angry.”

7. Seventh, a third-party may be required to help resolve the conflict. This is acceptable, but only the people involved in the dispute are involved in the resolution.

8. Lastly, please be sure that the peace table is never used as a “time-out” table.

Overall, remember that this is a place of relaxation and reflection. It is a space to resolve issues in a mutually respectful way. This will help children learn a valuable skill that can help them throughout the rest of their lives.

Prepared by Ms. Meredith.

To access a pdf handout of this information with photos, Click HERE.