Much is said about the value of empathy and the need to cultivate habits of nonviolence which lead to Peace. At the same time, it is very rare to find truly humane and co-creative environments which insist on the daily practice of peace in order to actually achieve this end. Through Association Building Community, the Peace Practicescurriculum was offered for the first time in public at The Renaissance International School, a Montessori learning environment in Oakland, CA. This support allowed us to open a door through which even the most scattered and conflicted children and families could walk to learn habits of peaceful interaction. Peaceful ways of working through conflict and difference have always been one of the traditional pillars of learning and of Montessori education in particular. Learn more about the pilot of Peace Practices here.
Peace Practices at Pacific Rim International School
In May 2014 we received international funding and began the next phase, our most recent launch in partnership with Pacific Rim International School in Emeryville and San Mateo, CA. We are always seeking support and guidance, as well as looking for other learning organizations and community partners as we continue our local work and grow to a national and then international level. For more, please visit Association Building Community's Peace Practices page. Now is the ideal time to offer your support and help us multiply our impact.
Even in the world of the Montessori method, most educational communities lack access to high-quality, integrated curricula specifically devoted to practicing peace. At the same time, actual peace-making requires strength of purpose and dedication to frequent practice that is characteristic of the best teachers and classrooms. It comes as a surprise to some that teachers of the martial arts have tools at their disposal to step to the forefront of peace practice, and that an entire martial system, called aikido, was founded for this purpose and is known around the world as The Art of Peace.
Aikido blossoms into a form of explicit community building when it is extended beyond the traditional boundaries of its physical practice. Adding language to aikido techniques creates an "Aikido 2.0" which improves both martial effectiveness and the pathways that lead to aikido themes extending beyond the dojo context. Combining Aikido 2.0 with theater and facilitation techniques, Brandon WilliamsCraig Ph.D. created Martial Nonviolence (MNv) to be a method of regular practice for all ages, a way to prepare body, mind, and spirit to respond as one system to conflict of all kinds in ways that lead people--young and old--to build communities which practice peace.
Each Peace Practices community uses a site-specific, carefully designed variation of the Martial Nonviolence training that is already practiced privately by residents of the San Francisco Bay Area, in particular by students, faculty, and staff at both UC Berkeley and Pacific Rim International School. We continue to receive international funding, and are creating a sustainable base from which Martial Nonviolence may grow so that it can be said that Peace Practices may be found wherever our children find themselves. Read more information here.
What is Possible?
A four and five year old had an incident that I want to share with you. Both of them wanted to put the same bike back in the shed and could not agree. One bit the other, and that one bit back. Then both were hurt, physically (very hard to see), and emotionally since they have been good friends for a long time. Both of them cried hard, and did not want to talk about it. I had a conversation with them, asking why they are feeling frustrated and how they can deal with it with words. [One] suddenly said, "Oh, yes, just like Peace Practices, when someone tries to hit you, you take their hand and say 'let's go together'." I asked them what they can say to each other then, and both of them said that they could say "let's do it together, or let's go together." Then the other said "But sensei said we also need to practice so it can be part of us." I asked them how they want to practice, and they said they want me to stage the bike to its original place so that they can run to the bike, then practice with "non-harmful" words. I replaced the bike and they said ''let's go together' and "let's do it together" to each other. When they put the bike back, they stared at each other, smiled, and hugged each other.
Much appreciation to Brandon Sensei who puts in great effort in working with the children.
A faculty member at Pacific Rim International School