“Respect” in my generation often meant being unseen, unheard, and stifling hurt or angry feelings. Montessori schools have a unique and positive approach towards respectful communication and conflict-resolution that begins in early childhood. The Peace Rose is integrated into every day classroom life of conflict and resolution. Children who are experiencing conflict are encouraged to face one another, and the child holding the peace rose shares feelings. The other child listens with full attention, and feeds back what they heard. When the “peace rose child” feels heard and understood, it is time to give the other child a turn. In this way, active listening and I messages are taking place, respect and conflict resolution are evolving, verbal skills are blossoming, and children are taught how to create a world of RESPECT for themselves and each other. Native American tradition has the talking stick as a way of teaching respectful communication and listening. We can integrate these approaches into our lives and the lives of the children. Teaching respect IS possible and begins early. Bullying and by-stander silence will no longer be an unsolvable issue if a child learns early the effects of words and actions, and learns to listen and express respectfully. I would love to be part of your approach towards reinforcing the value of respect though my “Peace Begins with You and Me” Concerts, my character-building CD’s or by having older children perform my school musical play. Let’s use conflict as teachable moments for ourselves and for teaching children. Here are helpful videos, websites and books that can add to your “teaching respect” toolbox.
Cheryl Melody Children’s Award-Winning CDs www.cherylmelody.com