One of the six main categories of Montessori Practical Life activities are social lessons on Grace and Courtesy which include developing social skills such as saying please and thank you, learning how to take turns and listen to others, proper table manners, how to interrupt someone, how to speak with an inside/outside voice, or how to turn the page of a book. The emphasis is always placed on the personal dignity of the child and the respect of individual rights. Dr. Maria Montessori strongly believed that a natural companion to Grace and Courtesy is Peace education, having great confidence that if we are able to raise peaceful children, they will, in turn, grow up to be respectful and peaceful adults. “Children are human beings to whom respect is due, superior to us by reason of their innocence and of the greater possibilities of their future. ... Within the child, lies the fate of the future,” she said.
So, to promote ☮️ peace education, we love 📖 reading Have You Filled a Bucket Today? 📚book (buy here). While the book encourages positive behavior by alluding to an invisible bucket to show children how easy and rewarding it is to express kindness, appreciation, and love by "filling buckets," I had set up an area with a real bucket, scrap-paper, 🖊pencils, and ✂️scissors.
After reading the book, my children naturally wanted to be "bucket fillers," and to become mindful of that, they would ✍🏻️write daily one thing that filled another's bucket (or their own). Filling one's invisible bucket can be a kind word, a smile, or a hug. Being caring and sharing, being patient and learning to wait a turn, helping each other in play or work also counts as "filling a bucket." There are so many ways to enrich someone's day!
This had become a beautiful tradition to come to the bucket and retrospect about the day: "What have I done to make another's day brighter? Have I filled someone's bucket today?" These thoughts bring the child to the primary act itself, strengthening the connection between the deed (e.g. a hug) and the result (e.g. happy Mommy).
So, our bucket is filled with love notes, hearts, drawings, colorful bookmarks for Mommy and so forth. As such, our bucket helps us be mindful, considerate and compassionate.
"Adrian filled my bucket by giving me a smile," Julia.
Dr. Montessori described education, as a "help to life" which starts at birth, feeding a peaceful revolution and uniting all in a common aim, attracting them to a single center. She encouraged Mothers, fathers, and politicians to "combine in their respect and help for this delicate work of formation, which the little child carries on in the depth of a profound psychological mystery, under the tutelage of an inner guide. This is the bright new hope for mankind.” (The Absorbent Mind, p. 15). So, when my children come to the bucket, they stop, think and reflect: about the day and what they did, mindful qualities which are the core of Montessori espoused Peace education. Thus, I hope that by building a peaceful core, it will prove to be a strong pivoting center for a peaceful adult. And our peaceful education needs not be elaborate: it can be as simple as reading a book and "filling one's bucket" with happy thoughts and happy deeds.
For more about our ☮️PEACE Education, read here "🕉Mindfulness with Children" and how to introduce it.