Throughout the school day in Montessori, students of all ages have the opportunity to work alone or with friends. They may talk or play or work together at any time—and of course, occasionally, students who are still learning how to be with others and think outside of their own perspectives may experience disagreements and conflict. Teachers work with students to learn how to work through these moments in positive ways.
With three-year-olds, a teacher may show a tearful child how to calm down, and how to invite others to the Peace Table to work out problems. The teacher may model language to help the children identify problems and feelings, and may help the children problem-solve solutions together. The teacher would later follow up, asking the children if the solution worked out or if they would like to try another solution. With more experienced students who have been practicing these problem-solving skills for years, a teacher’s involvement would be to simply furnish the conflict resolution tools and to remind students to use them when emotions run high.
Across all planes of development, peace is fostered through everyday experiences. Children learn that disagreements happen even among the best of friends, that conflict is resolved through positive words and actions, and that peace achieved through mutual agreement feels very, very good.