Using Montessori philosophy and Approach to the Child, we offer an aikido-based developmental curriculum that teaches children and adults to practice peace together with their bodies and thoughts as though it were a martial art, because peace is not the absence of conflict but the ongoing practice of conflict done well.
The scope and Montessori foundation for our work is suggested by these articles
From Dr. Montessori's work:
From the work of a previous director of training programs for Montessori Teachers in India, A.M. Joosten's, extension of Gandhi's principles:
One of many contemporary attempts to answer "What Are The Real Benefits of Sending a Child to Montessori?":
A response to the global needs reflected by such organizations as the United Nations, for instance in the 3rd Peace Salon in Paris at the Museum of Science and Industry in 2008:
For the past 100 years Montessori education has focused on preparing the environment and the developmental aspects of practicing peace on a daily basis which have been successful on many levels. Schools are ready for more extensions. It is encouraging, for instance, to know that “students carried a flag with two doves, sang peace songs, recited a peace pledge and said ‘may peace prevail on Earth’ in nearly about a half dozen or so languages” this year (2010) to celebrate The International Day of Peace.
But ritual needs to grow out of real understanding. Our curriculum gives sensory understanding of ‘making peace’ – how peace is made by each individual. As in all things Montessori, materials, lessons, and habit forming practices make the presence of peace a more concrete and lasting reality so that children and staff alike may leave the ordered environment and carry the order they love, learn, and teach into the much higher stress areas of conflict in the home and beyond.
Montessori guides are hungry for more training that extends their understanding as well as directly applicable lessons and practice. It is appropriate that this training come from a Montessori-child-grown-up. The Culturesmith curriculum known as Martial Nonviolence, developed by Brandon WilliamsCraig, takes to the next level “Montessori’s key ideas about creating a culture of peace by working on creating ‘peaceful environments’ where children can experience peace daily at home, their schools and communities.” (AMI-UN) This emerges through sharing specific applications with faculty and staff (through in-service training and consultation), parents (through evening and weekend workshops), and children (in the classroom and dojo) that go beyond the basic training in behavior modification and innovations like the “peace table” to offer the children appropriate ways to direct their physical aggression and emotional upset. Following the child, rather than subtly (and not so subtly) saying, “Don’t do that,” we suggest, “When you would like to hit/attack/throw/fall, this is a way to do so in a safe and creative way.” Since what we do is what we learn, it makes sense that we should practice Peace together with no less dedication and focus than one might practice, for instance, a martial art.
One of Brandon WilliamsCraig's Aiki Extensions colleagues, Charles Colten, is one of the foremost experts offering aikido in tandem with elementary education.
Around the country and around the world aikido professionals are realizing similar advances in a way that benefits the children in their dojos.
Imagine what might be possible if not only aikido but an entire system of peace-making behaviors became as common a practice as learning to read. This is where we are headed, and it will transform the classroom into the safe place it was meant to be so that our children may once again find their way into the future with the confidence that only comes when they are supported by their community.
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Frequently Asked Questions
What elements comprise your system and for whom is it designed?
In order to directly address the issues that concern you most, like bullying and classroom safety, Culturesmith offers a developmental Peace Practices curriculum based in Martial Nonviolence (MNv), which creates an ordered environment based on the Japanese dojo in which children and adults practice peace as though it were a martial art. Presupposing the pedagogical system originated by Dr. Maria Montessori, Martial Nonviolence is a Process Arts which combines aikido, theater improvisation, and facilitation skills. The curriculum is ready for persons as young as six years of age and may continue to be practiced and deeper expertise developed regardless of age. All that is required is the capacity to communicate, the realization that conflict may be done poorly or well, and the decision to practice the latter.
What happens if we express interest?
Brandon WilliamsCraig makes contact to respond to your questions personally and address any concerns. Then we schedule a free introductory meeting which must include all persons involved in making the policy and financial decisions to begin working together. If the Faculty and Staff involved in that introduction wish to move forward, a proposal is created which includes projections having to do with curricular scope, depth of practice, people participating, and cost.
Can our group begin with a portion of your offering without fully including it in our curriculum?
Absolutely. If you would like to have us present an in-service, or targetted training, one can be created to address your needs directly. We also design and offer facilitated processes, from emergency interventions to long-term consulting and safe-school in-services, which deliver specific exercises guaranteed to improve your capacity for working through conflict.
In-School Conflict Training Resources
Shaping the Brain with Redirection