Peace & Social Justice Resources
Resources you can count on to inspire and inform your creation of peaceful school culture.
We hope you will find the following resources helpful as you work toward creating and promoting a culture of compassion and kindness in the world—and in yourself.
For Your Classroom
- 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. Keep up with each year’s theme for inspiration to mobilize your students to take part.
- “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. You can sign up to show your support (it’s free).
- Sky Day Project is a worldwide “green classroom” that uses citizen science and art to promote global citizenship.
Stay abreast of headlines as they happen—and also read more ruminative pieces—with these peace- and social-justice-related news sources:
- The Chronicle of Social Change is a daily news publication devoted to issues affecting youth involved in child welfare and juvenile justice and the larger youth services field.
- Race/Related is a free newsletter providing a deep and provocative exploration of race with New York Times.
- Social Justice Solutions explores news, topics, and issues about social justice in today’s world.
- UN Web TV provides live coverage of select United Nations meetings as well as prerecorded video features and documentaries on global initiatives. There is also a dedicated channel featuring NGO meetings, both live and on-demand.
Montessori education started as and remains a social movement today. Understanding the ongoing tensions and challenges in our culture prepares you to better guide children and adolescents through the complexities of the world in which they live.
Gina Taliaferro Lofquist, Chief Education & Learning Officer
Children’s Book Lists
These lists of children’s books, compiled by a variety of sources, have themes that aim to reflect, accurately, the many people, cultures, and traditions of our world; help dispel myths and biases; and promote peace and understanding.
- “Books for Peace: An Annotated Bibliography,” from AMS’s Montessori Life magazine, Spring 2016.
- “Power Picture Books: Tools for Teaching Peace,” from Montessori Life, Winter 2008 – 2009.
- “Children’s Books That Tackle Race and Ethnicity,” by Maria Russo, from the New York Times, September 23, 2016.
- LGBT Books for Children, by the Bank Street School of Education, is sorted by category: picture books, juvenile fiction, juvenile nonfiction, children’s poetry, young adult fiction, and juvenile biography.
- See What We See, a coalition of writers, scholars, educators, librarians, and activists who believe that what we read can help shape our attitudes and actions, has created this guide for selecting anti-bias books for children.
- We Need Diverse Books, a grassroots foundation that invites us to “imagine a world in which all children can see themselves in the pages of a book,” offers suggestions of books for children of all ages.
- This Social Justice Book List is an initiative of the National Network of State Teachers of the Year.
“A book in a child’s hand forms understandings of people and places near and far, making the foreign familiar, differences interesting and universal.” – Kathy Carey, Co-Editor, Montessori Life
Grants & Awards
If you are working on a project that promotes peace and/or social justice, whether alone or as part of an organization, you may be eligible for funding support from AMS.
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 2020 Peace Seed Grants will be accepted September 15 – November 1, 2019.
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 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.
Other Grants & Awards
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 can we 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).
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.
In Dr. Montessori's Words
Three times nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize, Dr. Maria Montessori was a highly prolific writer on the topic of peace and justice. Here are some quotes from some of her best-known books.
“This force that we call love is the greatest energy of the universe.” —The Absorbent Mind
“…education is the best weapon for peace.” —Education and Peace
“The child is both a hope and a promise for mankind.” —Education and Peace
“An education capable of saving humanity is no small undertaking; it involves the spiritual development of man, the enhancement of his value as an individual, and the preparation of young people to understand the times in which they live.” —Education and Peace
“Peace is a practical principle of human civilisation and social organisation that is based on the very nature of man. Peace does not enslave him; rather, it exalts him.... And because it is based on man’s nature, it a constant, a universal principle that applies to all human beings. This principle must be our guide in building a science of peace and educating men for peace.” —Education and Peace
True peace…suggests the triumph of justice and love among men; it reveals the existence of a better world where harmony reigns. —Education and Peace
Establishing lasting peace is the work of education; all politics can do is keep us out of war.