Established in 1981 by the United Nations and given an official yearly observation in 2001, the International Day of Peace is a day when “all nations are invited to honor a cessation of hostilities… and commemorate the day through education and awareness.” (United Nations) International Day of Peace, September 21, is extraordinary because it can involve all people, in all nations, all over the world. According to Peace One Day, there has been up to a 70% decrease in violence and hostilities on this day. It is a time when we can connect with each other for this one purpose, one day a year.
There is a growing body of research that suggests connection is “as basic as our need for food, water, and shelter.” Additionally, so much of the research shows that disconnection and isolation could be one of many key factors in determining mental and physical health risks. We are learning, with some solid evidence, that humanity is wired to connect with one another.
One of the many great messages Dr. Montessori writes about is the way to peace. By seeing the world with all its animate and inanimate creation as one whole, “We shall walk together on this path of life, for all things are a part of the universe, and are connected with each other to form one whole unity.” She describes how we are already connected; all that we must do in our work with the children is just get them to see it. Her argument is further clarified: “It is hoped that when the sentiment of love for all subjects* can be aroused in children, people, in general, will become more human, and brutal wars will come to an end.” If the connection with all humanity is cultivated in each of our children (and ourselves), how could we hurt the environment or each other?
In the Montessori classrooms, we practice peace education every day. Learning kind words in the Young Children’s Community, the grace and courtesy lessons of Primary, classroom meetings in Elementary, community service in the Middle school, and service projects in High School—there are a thousand ways we work toward peace; it is deeply embedded in our curriculum. It is easy to forget that peace begins with each one of us, doing little peaceful things every day. Being present to look our fellow humans in the eyes and connect with them takes bravery and persistence; we can all be peacemakers in our way.
*Translated from Italian, also means “learning”
 Stuart Wolpert, “UCLA neuroscientist’s book explaisn why social connection is as important as food and shelter,” UCLA, October 10, 2013, http://newsroom.ucla.edu/releases/we-are-hard-wired-to-be-social-248746.
 Julianne Holt-Lunstad, Theodore F. Robles, and David A. Sbarra, “Advancing social connection as a public health priority in the United States,” American Psychologist, 72, no. 6 (2017), 517-530.
 Maria Montessori, To Educate the Human Potential (The Clio Montessori Series), (Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 1989) 6.