Education for Peace & Social Justice
Anti-Bias, Anti-Racist Resources for You and Your Classroom
We hope you will find the following anti-bias, anti-racist (“ABAR”) resources helpful as you work toward creating and promoting a culture of compassion, kindness, and equitability in the world. As Dr. Maria Montessori reminds us, "education is the best weapon for peace" (Education and Peace).
For Your Classroom
These youth-focused organizations empower students to make a difference in their community.
- DoSomething.org mobilizes young people worldwide to sign up for a volunteer, social change, or civic action campaign that has real-world impact.
- Great Kindness Challenge is an annual event based on the belief that everyone has the power to change the world.
- Kids for Peace focuses on youth leadership, community service, global friendships, and thoughtful acts of kindness.
- March for Our Lives is a student-created, student-led movement with a mission to effectively address issues of gun violence. There are opportunities for starting local chapters, participating in rallies, and more.
- Peace First provides grants, networking opportunities, and other resources to help young people around the world become powerful peacemakers.
- Sandy Hook Promise’s “Start with Hello Week” is a program that teaches students skills for reaching out and including peers who may be dealing with chronic social isolation, and for creating a culture of inclusion and interconnectedness in their schools.
- World Citizen designates International Peace Sites to promote a more just and harmonious world. AMS is an International Peace Site, and your school can apply to become one as well.
International Day of Peace
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.
- International Day of Peace Activities. Peace Day provides a powerful and inspiring opportunity to engage children and youth in diverse activities related to peace, unity, and making a positive difference in their world.
- “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. Sign up (for free) to show your support.
Anti-Bias, Anti-Racist Book Lists for Children & Youth
One of the best ways to broaden understanding is through the words we read. These lists offer diverse landscapes for young readers to explore.
- “Books for Peace: An Annotated Bibliography,” from AMS’s Montessori Life magazine, Spring 2016.
- “Children’s Books That Tackle Race and Ethnicity,” From the New York Times, September 23, 2016.
- The Every Mom blog shares 50 children’s books that celebrate diversity.
- A Feminist Book List for boys and girls, compiled by the New York Times.
- The Guardian compiled a list of anti-racist books for children and teens. Includes This Book is Anti-racist, a book co-written by Montessori Elementary teacher, Tiffany Jewel.
- Looking for Excellent “Diverse” Books for Children? Embrace Race has compiled a list of children’s books with an eye toward diversity.
- “Power Picture Books: Tools for Teaching Peace,” from Montessori Life, Winter 2008 – 2009.
- See What We See, a coalition of writers, scholars, educators, librarians, and activists created this guide for selecting anti-bias books for children.
- Social Justice Book List is an initiative of the National Network of State Teachers of the Year.
- “These Books Can Help You Explain Racism and Protest to Your Kids.” The New York Times compilation of diverse books broken down by age group.
Black Lives Matter
Black Lives Matter
Now is the time for us to be intentionally anti-racist, and to denounce and call out injustices that are occurring right before our eyes—injustices that impact the students, parents, staff members, and schools within our community, and in some cases determine whether they live or die. It’s time to stand for, and with, justice.Read Amira's full statement
Expanding Your ABAR Horizons
Organizations to Follow
This sampling of organizations will help you deepen your understanding of social justice issues. Many of these organizations share educator’s guides, classroom activities, and additional resources.
- Black Lives Matter. Join the Movement fighting for freedom, liberation, and justice. Resources, petitions, and informational guides available.
- Educolor seeks to elevate the voices of public-school advocates of color on educational equity and justice.
- Family Equality provides resources, activities, and advocacy work for LGBTQIA+ families.
- The Global Oneness Project offers multicultural films, photo essays, and articles that “explore cultural, social, and environmental issues with a humanistic lens.” Sign up to get their lesson plan of the week, stories, and more, sent to your inbox.
- GSLEN is a national education organization focused on ensuring safe and affirming schools for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning students. We especially recommend this resource of considerations when working with LGBTQ students of color.
- The National Museum of African American History & Culture shares resources specifically for educator’s looking to bring race topics into their classrooms. Includes conversations around being anti-racist, racial identity, and whiteness.
- PBS shares information for parents and teachers around educating children about Black History Month.
- The Peace Alliance empowers civic engagement toward a culture of peace. Their network includes volunteer grassroots teams in cities, towns, colleges, and high school campuses nationwide.
- Teaching Tolerance has lesson plans that promote social justice, challenge bias, and engage students in discussions about diversity.
- The Trevor Project is a national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBTQ youth.
By educating ourselves in the realm of social justice, we are better prepared as Montessorians, as educators, and as community members to create lasting change for all. These text-based resources are a great place to start.
- “75 Things White People Can Do for Racial Justice” is an article full of actionable steps white people can take in using their privilege to stand up against police brutality.
- The 1619 Project is an initiative of the New York Times with the goal of re-examining the legacy of slavery in the United States. Bring the 1619 Project into your classroom with this curriculum, developed by the Pulitzer Center.
- The Chronicle of Social Change is a daily news publication devoted to issues affecting youth involved in child welfare, juvenile justice, and the larger youth services field.
- Race/Related is a free newsletter providing a deep and provocative exploration of race with the New York Times.
- “Students of Color and Public Montessori Schools.” This report, published in the Journal of Montessori Research, discusses public school’s efficacy for students of color.
Watch & Listen
It is perhaps our greatest responsibility to strive toward peace within ourselves. Visit these audiovisual resources to learn more about how you can stand up for peace and social justice.
- The 70 Million podcast, named for the 70 million American adults with a criminal record, tells a different story of the lived experience behind criminal-justice policy choices, and of the people, neighborhoods, counties, and cities trying to break cycles of incarceration.
- The Come Through with Rebecca Carroll podcast invites special guests for 15 essential conversations about race in the United States.
- Seeing White podcast turns the focus of conversations about race toward whiteness.
- The Stoop podcast points a journalistic lens at a different facet of black life in all its variety.
- “Talking Race with Young Children.” This 20-minute lesson from NPR talks about handling conversations about race, racism, diversity, and inclusion with young children.
- Your Kids Aren’t Too Young to Talk About Race. This resource roundup from Pretty Good shares articles, podcasts, and books for educating children on race.
If you are working on a project that promotes peace and/or social justice, explore these opportunities to apply for funding.
- 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 we can 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).
- The Pollination Project provides seed grants to individuals around the world who seek to create a more compassionate world.
- 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.
Peace & Social Justice Committee
The AMS Peace & Social Justice Committee serves as an inspiration and resource for weaving concepts of peace, equity, humanitarianism, and world citizenship into Montessori venues and beyond.
From spearheading relief efforts that assist local or global crises to helping teachers make connections that build understanding, friendship, sharing of experiences, and more, committee members are active, agile, and responsive—and welcome your participation.
Members of the Peace & Social Justice Committee know that as engaged and compassionate citizens of the world, Montessorians contribute to their communities in myriad ways.
Establishing lasting peace is the work of education; all politics can do is keep us out of war.