Peace and harmony were the focus as the community at Andover School of Montessori took time on Sept. 20 to honor the International Day of Peace. The bright sunlit day served as an inviting backdrop as the community of students, teachers, staff and parents gathered for morning assembly to recognize the significance of the day.
Joanna DeStefanis, Head of Andover School of Montessori, addressed the gathering, which included the diverse student body, ranging from preschoolers to eighth graders. Sixth grade students at the Andover School of Montessori then led the assembly with presentations based on their research about Mahatma Gandhi, Jeremy Gilley, Maria Montessori and Mother Teresa, noted for their work toward world peace. Later, the teachers lit a candle symbolizing peace, and the music teacher guided the students as they sang "Light a Candle for Peace." Students from the Upper Elementary program had distributed flyers that included the lyrics for the song and asked the community to make a peace pledge for themselves as well.
The United Nations established Sept. 21 as the International Day of Peace, or Peace Day, in 2001, calling on individuals and nations to use the day to promote nonviolence and harmony. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon commemorated the day with this message posted on the UN website: "On this International Day of Peace, let us pledge to teach our children the value of tolerance and mutual respect. Let us invest in the schools and teachers that will build a fair and inclusive world that embraces diversity. Let us fight for peace and defend it with all our might."
"Peace education is an integral part of the curriculum at Andover School of Montessori where students work together to solve problems collaboratively," says Joanna DeStefanis. "Grace and courtesy are the foundation of the Practical Life Curriculum and are evident in our daily interactions with one another," she adds, pointing out that Maria Montessori, founder of the Montessori method of education, was nominated five times for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Established in February 1975, Andover School of Montessori is located in Andover, Mass. The school serves children ages 3 through grade 8.