Education for Peace & Social Justice
Anti-Bias, Anti-Racist Resources for You and Your Classroom
We hope you will find the following anti-bias, anti-racist (“ABAR”) resources helpful as you work toward creating and promoting a culture of compassion, kindness, and equitability in the world. As Dr. Maria Montessori reminds us, "education is the best weapon for peace" (Education and Peace).
For Your Classroom
These youth-focused organizations empower students to make a difference in their community.
- DoSomething.org mobilizes young people worldwide to sign up for a volunteer, social change, or civic action campaign that has real-world impact.
- Great Kindness Challenge is an annual event based on the belief that everyone has the power to change the world.
- Kids for Peace focuses on youth leadership, community service, global friendships, and thoughtful acts of kindness.
- March for Our Lives is a student-created, student-led movement with a mission to effectively address issues of gun violence. There are opportunities for starting local chapters, participating in rallies, and more.
- The National Museum of the American Indian provides a series of resources for K – 12 teachers called “Native Knowledge 360.” Also included, a downloadable PDF and a free webinar series that they run every 3 months.
- Peace First provides grants, networking opportunities, and other resources to help young people around the world become powerful peacemakers.
- Sandy Hook Promise’s “Start with Hello Week” is a program that teaches students skills for reaching out and including peers who may be dealing with chronic social isolation, and for creating a culture of inclusion and interconnectedness in their schools.
- World Citizen designates International Peace Sites to promote a more just and harmonious world. AMS is an International Peace Site, and your school can apply to become one as well.
International Day of Peace
The International Day of Peace, observed every year on September 21, is an initiative of the United Nations devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples.
- International Day of Peace Activities. Peace Day provides a powerful and inspiring opportunity to engage children and youth in diverse activities related to peace, unity, and making a positive difference in their world.
- “March for Peace” is an original song, dedicated to Dr. Maria Montessori, by Montessori music specialist and steel band director, Frank Leto. He encourages you to sing it with your students on the International Day of Peace—and throughout the year, too. You can find the lyrics here.
- Sing Peace Around the World invites Montessori students from around the world to sing “Light a Candle for Peace” on the International Day of Peace. Sign up (for free) to show your support.
Book Lists for Children & Youth
One of the best ways to broaden understanding is through the words we read. These lists offer diverse landscapes for young readers to explore.
- “Books for Peace: An Annotated Bibliography,” from AMS’s Montessori Life magazine, Spring 2016.
- “Children’s Books That Tackle Race and Ethnicity,” From the New York Times, September 23, 2016.
- The Every Mom blog shares 50 children’s books that celebrate diversity.
- A Feminist Book List for boys and girls, compiled by the New York Times.
- The Guardian compiled a list of anti-racist books for children and teens. Includes This Book Is Anti-Racist, by anti-racist Montessori Elementary teacher, Tiffany Jewell. Illustratations by Aurélia Durand.
- Looking for Excellent “Diverse” Books for Children? Embrace Race has compiled a list of children’s books with an eye toward diversity.
- Native American Children's Book List. First Nations Development Institute compiled a recommended reading list for young people, broken down by age level. Also, 10 ways you can further your support of Native communities and literature.
- “Power Picture Books: Tools for Teaching Peace,” from Montessori Life, Winter 2008 – 2009.
- See What We See, a coalition of writers, scholars, educators, librarians, and activists created this guide for selecting anti-bias books for children.
- Social Justice Book List is an initiative of the National Network of State Teachers of the Year.
- “These Books Can Help You Explain Racism and Protest to Your Kids.” The New York Times compilation of diverse books broken down by age group.
Black Lives Matter
Black Lives Matter
Now is the time for us to be intentionally anti-racist, and to denounce and call out injustices that are occurring right before our eyes—injustices that impact the students, parents, staff members, and schools within our community, and in some cases determine whether they live or die. It’s time to stand for, and with, justice.Read Amira's full statement
Expanding Your ABAR Horizons
This sampling of organizations and individuals will help you deepen your understanding of social justice issues. Many of those listed below share guides for educators, classroom activities, and other resources.
- Black Lives Matter. Join the Movement fighting for freedom, liberation, and justice. Resources, petitions, and informational guides available.
- Black Montessori Education Fund (BMEF) is committed to quality education for Black children through the proven liberating philosophy of the Montessori Method.
- The Conscious Kid provides parenting and educational resources through a critical race lens.
- Educolor seeks to elevate the voices of public-school advocates of color on educational equity and justice.
- Embracing Equity is a social change agency dedicated to centering racial justice in education through racial and ethnic identity development and critical consciousness and action.
- Family Equality provides resources, activities, and advocacy work for LGBTQIA+ families.
- The Global Oneness Project offers multicultural films, photo essays, and articles that “explore cultural, social, and environmental issues with a humanistic lens.” Sign up to get their lesson plan of the week, stories, and more, sent to your inbox.
- GSLEN is a national education organization focused on ensuring safe and affirming schools for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning students. We especially recommend this resource of considerations when working with LGBTQ students of color.
- KnowThySelf Inc., provides educational materials and professional development designed to assist children in their self-discovery journey. Co-founded by 2 Montessori educators, Koren Clark and Nicole Dixon.
- Montessori for Social Justice is a group of Montessori educators committed to social justice, racial equity, and an anti-bias, anti-racist application of Montessori pedagogy.
- The National Museum of African American History & Culture shares resources specifically for educator’s looking to bring race topics into their classrooms. Includes conversations around being anti-racist, racial identity, and whiteness.
- PBS shares information for parents and teachers around educating children about Black History Month.
- The Peace Alliance empowers civic engagement toward a culture of peace. Their network includes volunteer grassroots teams in cities, towns, colleges, and high school campuses nationwide.
- Teaching Tolerance has lesson plans that promote social justice, challenge bias, and engage students in discussions about diversity.
- The Trevor Project is a national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBTQ youth.
- Austin Channing Brown is a speaker, producer, and New York Times bestselling author. She created The Next Question, a video series that deepens conversations about racial justice.
- Ayize Sabater is a researcher, author, and educator who has founded several nonprofit organizations, including a Montessori public charter school in Washington DC. He is also the co-human relations officer at Montessori for Social Justice.
- Blair Imani is the host of the podcast America Did What, the author of 2 books, and an advocate for global Black and LGBTQIA+ communities.
- Britt Hawthorne is a nationally recognized equity trainer in education who partners with action-oriented educators to create classroom environments that are inclusive and equitable for all learners.
- DeRay McKesson is the co-founder of Campaign Zero and co-host of Pod Save the People. He is also a leading voice in the Black Lives Matter movement.
- Ibram X. Kendi is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Black Campus Movement and How to be an Antiracist. He is also founding director of The Antiracist Research & Policy Center.
- Munroe Bergdorf is a trans model and activist who has spoken out against racism in the modeling industry and is an advocate for the LGBTQIA+ community.
- Nikole Hannah-Jones is a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter covering racial injustice for The New York Times Magazine, and creator of the landmark 1619 Project.
- Rachel Cargle is an academic, lecturer, and writer who focuses on the intersection between race and womanhood.
By educating ourselves in the realm of social justice, we are better prepared as Montessorians, as educators, and as community members to create lasting change for all. These text-based resources are a great place to start.
- “75 Things White People Can Do for Racial Justice” is an article full of actionable steps white people can take in using their privilege to stand up against police brutality.
- The 1619 Project is an initiative of the New York Times with the goal of re-examining the legacy of slavery in the United States. Bring the 1619 Project into your classroom with this curriculum, developed by the Pulitzer Center.
- The Chronicle of Social Change is a daily news publication devoted to issues affecting youth involved in child welfare, juvenile justice, and the larger youth services field.
- Race/Related is a free newsletter providing a deep and provocative exploration of race with the New York Times.
- “Students of Color and Public Montessori Schools.” This report, published in the Journal of Montessori Research, discusses public school’s efficacy for students of color.
It is in being intentional that we are able to expand our ABAR work. These videos—some as short as1 1-minute—can educate you and your students about anti-bias, anti-racist work.
- 8 Short Videos to Jumpstart Discussions About Race and Stereotypes Edutopia compiled these learning tools to ignite a constructive dialogue about race in your classroom. Also includes additional resources for tackling stereotypes and racism.
- 26 Mini-Films for Exploring Race, Bias, and Identity with Students. A collection of short educational videos created by the New York Times. Includes teaching ideas, related readings, and student activities.
- Indigenous Peoples’ History Webinar. Cohosted by experts from the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, this webinar explores the ways American history instruction often fails to acknowledge—and contributes to—the erasure of Indigenous stories and perspectives.
- Talks to Help you Understand Racism in the United States These TED Talks take an honest look at the realities of Black Americans and illuminate the way forward.
- Uncomfortable Conversations With A Black Man. Emmanuel Acho, former NFL player and current broadcaster, hosts a video series that invites white people to a nonjudgmental space to ask questions and discuss racism, social injustice, and the hurt that Black Americans are feeling today.
It is perhaps our greatest responsibility to strive toward peace within ourselves. Listen to these podcasts and recordings to learn more about how you can stand up for peace and social justice.
- The 70 Million podcast, named for the 70 million American adults with a criminal record, tells a different story of the lived experience behind criminal-justice policy choices, and of the people, neighborhoods, counties, and cities trying to break cycles of incarceration.
- The Come Through with Rebecca Carroll podcast invites special guests for 15 essential conversations about race in the United States.
- Seeing White podcast turns the focus of conversations about race toward whiteness.
- The Stoop podcast points a journalistic lens at a different facet of black life in all its variety.
- “Talking Race with Young Children.” This 20-minute lesson from NPR talks about handling conversations about race, racism, diversity, and inclusion with young children.
- Your Kids Aren’t Too Young to Talk About Race. This resource roundup from Pretty Good shares articles, podcasts, and books for educating children on race.
- White Anti-Racist Discussion Group: This forum is a place to find support with other white-identifying Montessorians as you evolve in your anti-bias/anti-racist journey. Begin conversations, find and examine resources, and discuss challenging topics. Email us to be added to the group.
- Montessorians of Color: A space for Montessorians of Color to share concerns and needs and be in community with peers, de-centered from white experiences. Email us to be added to the group.
If you are working on a project that promotes peace and/or social justice, explore these opportunities to apply for funding.
AMS Ursula Thrush Peace Seed Grant
The AMS Peace & Social Justice Committee awards annual Peace Seed Grants to help fund projects that promote peace education. The grants are presented in memory of educator Ursula Thrush (1930 – 2002), whose dedication to the concept of peace through children inspired many to advance peace education in their classrooms and communities.
Among her many accomplishments, Ursula founded the Maria Montessori School of the Golden Gate and Maria Montessori Teacher Training Center, both in San Francisco, CA; and helped to establish The Science of Peace Task Force and Montessori Peace Academy.
Applying for a Peace Seed Grant
Applications for 2021 Peace Seed Grants are now closed. Thank you to all who applied.
The successful applicant will:
- have experience in a Montessori environment;
- clearly articulate how the funds would be used;
- agree to share a report about the project upon completion of the work.
The proposed project should be designed to:
- further peace education;
- reach a significant number of children and/or educators;
- accomplish its goals in the year following receipt of the grant.
AMS Peace Seed Grants are financed through donations to the AMS Peace & Social Justice Fund. We are grateful to Lesley Nan Haberman and The Family School in New York City for their generous support of Peace Seed Grants throughout the years.
Additional Grants & Awards
The AMS DEI Scholarship Program supports our commitment to ensuring that the learning opportunities we create are inclusive in serving all people, especially marginalized or under-resourced populations.
- The Carl Koch Foundation offers grants that support scholars in pursuing ideas and research that will have an impact on societal well-being.
- The Jane Addams Children’s Book Award recognizes children’s books that address how people of all races, cultures, nations, and economic systems can live peacefully together, and how we can think more creatively and humanely about injustice and conflict.
- The Peace Development Fund makes grants to organizations and projects working to achieve peaceful, just, and equitable relationships among people and nations.
- PEACE Grants from the Mind & Life Institute support research on novel interdisciplinary approaches for investigating and nurturing wholesome mental qualities related to Prosociality, Empathy, Altruism, Compassion, and Ethics (PEACE).
- The Pollination Project provides seed grants to individuals around the world who seek to create a more compassionate world.
- Resist is a non-profit organization that offers grants for projects that support justice, liberation, and resisting systemic oppression through grassroots/cultural organizing, art-making, and resilience building.
- The United States Institute of Peace awards grants that support peace-building projects managed by non-profit organizations including educational institutions, research institutions, and civil-society organizations.
- Walter Dean Myers Awards for Outstanding Children's Literature recognize authors (or co-authors) whose works feature diverse main characters and address diversity in a meaningful way.
Peace & Social Justice Committee
The AMS Peace & Social Justice Committee serves as an inspiration and resource for weaving concepts of peace, equity, humanitarianism, and world citizenship into Montessori venues and beyond.
From spearheading efforts that address global or national crises, such as systemic racism and bias, to helping teachers make connections that build understanding and friendship, committee members are active and responsive. They know that as engaged and compassionate citizens of the world, Montessori educators contribute to their communities in myriad ways, and they welcome your participation.
Establishing lasting peace is the work of education; all politics can do is keep us out of war.