The Peace Rose is a common object used within the Montessori Classroom to promote independent conflict resolution. Children are modeled to by the teacher early in the school year and shown the proper use of the rose. The children are taught that if in the event they are feeling frustrated and need to address another friend due to an indifference or even an accidental occurrence that resulted in a child being upset or hurt, the child may proceed to the peace rose in the classroom and bring it to the other child involved. The two children work out their differences using their words, taking turns by passing the rose back and forth. Whoever has the rose does the talking. They pass back and forth until they have worked out their differences using their words and then they both place their little hands on the stem of the rose and declare together “FRIENDS.”
This process reinforces the need to work out problems with words, confronting the friend in question, and that hands are for helping not for hurting. The youngest of the group (the 2 ½ / 3 year olds) may need help with their words and that is where the head and/or assistant teachers may come in to play. As they are observing and guiding the classroom during the work cycle they may notice a child in need of some assistance. The teachers will never rush over, but rather, observe quietly for a moment assessing what help is actually needed. If, indeed, some assistance is required, the teacher may quietly move closer, ask if the child would like some help using their words and then proceed to assist if help is requested.
As the children grow and develop within the environment and discover over time the success they have with conflict resolution, the process is reinforced and also modeled by them to the other children in the classroom. The peace rose becomes a widely used tool and in great demand at times!
This tool may be carried over into the home as well. In fact, we highly encourage the children to go home and discuss this process with their families and many family’s will adapt this technique with their own children by using an object within the home designated for conflict resolution. A peace object is not limited to a rose, it may also include a peace bear or animal, a peace stick or other item the family all agrees upon, or no object at all may be required once the process is understood and practiced.
Amidst the turmoil this world is exposed to and is only ever-increasing, we can only do more good by reinforcing this idea of resolving conflict with words with the children we have stewardship over. The up-coming generation is who we will look to in only a few short years to lead our companies, communities, states and nations. May we continue the good work of raising a noble generation and do all within our power to promote peace.