Julie Davis, Owner and Guide of A Peaceful Path, toddler program in Vancouver, WA, shares this reflection on the Peace and Justice Fair.
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On Saturday, September 8 OMA volunteers shared Dr. Montessori's message of peaceful parenting and peaceful education with attendees of the Vancouver Peace and Justice Fair. Staff and board members from many Clark County Montessori schools and OMA President Cathy Dorner set up two booths for the event. The display included information on local schools, articles on Montessori and Peace, Montessori fact sheets and books for families to peruse.
Guides brought materials from their classrooms and a Montessori environment in miniature was arranged for the youngest fairgoers to explore. Several families stopped by to interact with the exhibit. Donna Hargrave of Camas Montessori even gave one child a lesson on the lifecycle of a butterfly while her younger brother worked with cylinder blocks. The girl left wearing a big smile and clutched her completed booklet to her chest proudly upon learning she got to keep it. Elementary guide Tami O'Kinsella of Cascadia School had several in-depth conversations with fairgoers about the timeline she brought, including one public school teacher.
Many of the toddler/primary aged children were stroller bound, however, and so volunteers spent much of their time handing out information to families walking by, or to anyone who made eye-contact! The Montessori Foundation's booklet "Creating a Culture of Partnership, Kindness, Respect and Peace" was distributed coupled with a list of participating Clark County Montessori schools, and a Montessori fact sheet. Cathy and Katrina Grover, of Lakeshore Montessori, even crossed the walkway to the playground to hand out literature. In all nearly 125 information packets were handed out.
Upon seeing OMA's banner Montessori enthusiasts stopped by to visit. Many were fellow Peace and Justice exhibitors who shared stories of children and grandchildren benefiting from Montessori education. One man paused as he walked by, read at the banner and exclaimed - "Hey I saw that on Google's logo the other day!" We were pleased to explain the significance.
Rian Singh of Good Shepherd Montessori shared a conversation she had with a man who hated his own conventional education. He disliked it so much, in fact, it was a major factor in his decision not to procreate! After discussing Montessori philosophy with Rian for some time he commented that he should stand next to our booth wearing a shirt that said "victim" while we wore shirts saying "answer".
The event presented an opportunity to clear up some misunderstandings among the public. One major misconception reported was the belief that Montessori only serves preschoolers. Cascadia board member, Jon Davis, had several in-depth conversations testifying to the wonders of a Montessori elementary and middle school education. Several visitors also lamented the cost of Montessori education and we were pleased to inform them that Clark County boasts at least five schools that offer scholarships or tuition assistance.
Another highlight was the opportunity for guides and administrators from the various schools to meet each other for the first time, to catch up with colleagues, and to share their school news. Reunions also occurred between volunteers and alumni students who stopped by to say hello.
Naturally the success of the event is due to the hard work of many volunteers. Thank you to the staff and board members from A Peaceful Path Montessori, Camas Montessori, Cascadia School, Good Shepherd Montessori, Lakeshore Montessori and Vancouver Montessori for contributing your time and sharing your materials with the public. Thank you also to Cathy for volunteering all day, writing an article to share and running to make copies of flyers midday when we ran out of them! Thanks also to Kim Greer of Harmony Montessori School for creating a Montessori and Peace timeline specifically for the fair.
|Cathy Dorner & Donna Hargrave|
|Peace & Justice Fair, Vancouver|