Students sing for peace
Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 21, 2016
LaGRANGE — Children’s voices carried softly over the splashing of the fountain on Lafayette Square on Wednesday morning in a call for peace.
Students from Hillside Montessori and First Presbyterian Montessori joined the 100,000 children who committed to take part in “Sing Peace Around the World” for the International Day of Peace.
“We started practicing at the beginning of the school year,” said Bethany Headrick, the director and lower elementary guide at Hillside Montessori. “… We’ve been focusing on peacemakers in the classroom like Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. and Mother Theresa.”
The children’s rendition of “Light a Candle For Peace” in LaGrange is part of an effort to keep the song going continuously worldwide for the day, beginning in New Zealand and continuing from country to country until it reaches Hawaii 24 hours later.
“We have gone over the overall importance of peace in your environment: home, school, out with friends,” said Amanda Mallory, the director of First Presbyterian Montessori. “We are really lucky to have both Montessoris in LaGrange and be able to partner with that sister school (Hillside).”
Both school leaders hoped teaching children about peace at a young age will allow them to carry it into the world and make the community a better place.
“(This) great opportunity fits in with the Montessori philosophy,” said Angie Cook, a board member for Hillside Montessori. “Maria Montessori definitely taught peace. That is one thing the world needs is peace and children definitely represent peace on this day.”
Dr. Maria Montessori, the inventor of the Montessori teaching philosophy, imagined peace as the result of educating children in a respectful manner that met the needs of the child.
“Avoiding war is the work of politics, establishing peace is the work of education,” is one of Montessori’s basic tenets.
That thought was echoed by parents and teachers who watched the children sing as part of the International Day of Peace.
“I think it’s fabulous,” said Terri Codlin, a board member who taught at First Presbyterian for 21 years. “It’s exciting to be part of something international, especially during these difficult times.”
The International Day of Peace was established by the U.N. in 1981 to designate the day as an international ceasefire to allow for humanitarian aid.