People that are familiar with Montessori Classrooms have heard of “The Peace Table”.
The Peace Table is part of “The Peace Curriculum”. Andrea Coventry, a Montessori Writer, describes the peace table as a “safe place” where children can come and discuss their problems and to resolve conflict”.
Our 4 and a half year old daughter has started a formal Montessori curriculum. Our 3 year old son has not started at the school yet. But, we use the Peace Table at home now that he is old enough to articulate and respond.
Before anyone scoffs at the method, I want to relay some stories about how we’ve used The Peace Table.
One day, we were in the McDonald’s Play Area. The newest one in our city has a state of the art set-up: an arts and crafts section, musical wall pianos, climbing apparati, tower slides and a wall of video touch screen video games.
It was inevitable that amongst the entire wall of video games, my two kids would be fighting over the same 2 inches of touch screen. The screaming, pushing, shoving and hitting ensued. And, I said, “That’s it! To The Peace Table!”
Our daughter knew what to do.
She walked over to one of the McDonald’s tables. Our son watched her.
She informed me that there was no bell to start the Peace Talk.
So, I asked her to ring an imaginary bell.
And here’s what happened.
She held her fingers up and rang an imaginary bell and said “dingalingaling!”
“Brudder! You made me mad when you DID NOT wait your turn!”
Our son said, “I made you mad???”
And she responded, “Yes! Because you did not wait your turn!”
He said, “I didn’t wait my turn? I’m sowwweeeee….”
And then… “It’s okay, Brudder. I forgive you. Let’s share!”
Some of the moms sitting next to me watched the whole thing. I’m sure they thought it was a bit nutty that I made my kids do that. But, even they had surprised looks on their faces when they saw how it ended.
Fast forward to a few days ago. In our play room, a similar fight ensued.
My husband hadn’t seen The Peace Table Negotiations yet.
When the kids started to fight, I asked our daughter to invite her brother to the Peace Table.
She said, “Wait!”
She grabbed a metal bowl from her play kitchen and a wooden spatula. She turned the bowl upside down so she could signal the start of the “Peace Talk”.
She banged the bowl with the spatula.
And, the talks began.
My husband was astounded at the result. I have to admit that it surprises me every time it works. It kind of tickles me, too.
The morning after our kids’ United Nations style conflict-resolution, I awoke hastily because we had overslept. We were going to be late for school.
I stumbled into the bathroom. Aw C’MON!
I stumbled into another bathroom. YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME!
I went downstairs to the other bathroom. WHAT THE????I stormed upstairs, running late, having wasted precious minutes on a scavenger hunt for toilet paper .
I did what all of us indignant wives do who bear the burden of “official toilet paper roll changer”.
I proceeded to bark at my husband for not ever changing the toilet paper rolls.
He gave me some typical husband excuses as to why he might not notice they needed to be changed. I won’t go into them. I’m sure you’ve fought the same battles.
I barked as we pulled up socks, brushed teeth, and brushed hair. And I barked some more as we stuffed sandwiches in our kids’ mouths.
And do you know what our daughter said?
“Mom. You should invite Dad to the Peace Table.”
And we didn’t go to the peace table.
My husband and I looked at each other.
And we laughed.
The reminder was enough to cut the conflict.
I should note that my husband is really a fantastic guy. He does things like the dishes.
I cook. He does the dishes.
This is a wonderful, symbiotic relationship.
Plus, he is really artistic and handy.
He is in the process of tearing down and building his motorcycle from the frame up.
He is cutting his own handlebars, welding them, bending metal, shaving it, sanding it, wrapping it…He is literally constructing his vision piece by piece.
My husband just called me downstairs to show me his newest creation.
He made a bracket that was flush (that is motorhead-speak for “even with something”) with his motorcycle frame. He did it by cutting down a steel bar, cranking it between the hinges of our gun safe and sanding it down with his bare hands. He was so proud.
“Look at what I made? I MADE that. With my BARE HANDS!”
And I was impressed, indeed.
I couldn’t help myself. I said….
“So what you are saying is….You ARE CAPABLE of replacing a toilet paper roll?”
I’m sorry, I can’t finish this post.
I’m about to the ring Peace Drum.
The things our kids teach us….It really is amazing.
Have your kids taught you any good lessons lately?
Mcdonald’s Booth: http://www.furnituretablechair.com/Productsdetails/McDonalds-Table-Chair-1987.html
Toilet Paper Roll: http://www.paystolivegreen.com/2010/04/dont-throw-out-empty-toilet-paper-rolls/