By Hugh McMillan
When I learned that this year Harbor Montessori School has become an International Peace Site through World Citizen Organization and is the first and so far the only peace site in Gig Harbor, I just had to have a look.
”We feel that their five peace actions align perfectly with Montessori philosophy,” said Quinci Adams, executive assistant to the school’s director. “We are so excited to share our celebration of peace with the larger community.”
United Nations International Day of Peace is every year on September 21. Timing was such that HMS observed it on September 20 this year and, said Quinci, “students continued our long-time tradition of gathering around the peace pole on our campus and singing ‘Light a Candle for Peace.’ This is a tradition that Montessori schools celebrate around the world every year with each school singing at 10:30 in their own time zone to truly sing ‘Peace Around the World.’”
Space around the school’s peace pole was awash with delightfully outfitted youngsters each carrying a “peace dove” paddle to wave rhythmically in time with their singing which was embellished by the accompaniment of music teacher Carl Tweeten, aka “Señor Carlos,” strumming his guitar. Teachers, staff, and parents sang along with the kids.
”It was very peaceful when we sang ‘Light a Candle for Peace’,” explained first grader Connor Thomson. “It made me feel happy in silence. I liked when we sang the song,” said Connor’s classmate Jonny Forslin. Maisie Roy, another first grader, asked, “Are we famous in the world because we are a peaceful site?”
You are in my part of our world, Maisie!
Following the song, everyone joined in a dedication and unveiling of HMS’s new International Peace Site plaque.
I asked, and Quinci explained that, “Harbor Montessori School, located in Gig Harbor, WA, was founded in 1981. We serve children ages eight weeks through 15 years of age, with 150 students currently enrolled. We are a full member of the American Montessori Society, and the only State-approved Montessori school serving infants through ninth grade in the South Sound! Our Mission Statement is: ‘Harbor Montessori School is dedicated to nurturing the whole child through intentional academic guidance, purposeful learning environments, and peace-minded community support.’”
To primary student Emma Johnson, “It was pretty cool when we held our doves up.” Emma’s classmate Esme Runion’s, “favorite part was seeing my sister and my friends from other classrooms.”
”I like the dove and posters but maybe next year we could tell everybody in Gig Harbor about peace,” suggested third grader Blynn Snyder.
”Now we are a Peace Site we represent peace,” declared third-grader Ella Schmidt. Her classmate Manasa Werner feels, “Peace Day is a special day for me. I don’t like to miss it.”
For more information on World Citizen Peace Sites and peace education, follow this link: https://www.peacesites.org/
Visit https://singpeacearoundtheworld.com for more information about the song tradition.