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1110 College NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49503

Sing Peace Around the World


Sing Peace Around the World

Elizabeth Topliffe

Much has already been written about the events of the past several weeks. You don’t need to hear about facts and figures here. We are inundated with them. We live in troubling times, and as humans, we respond to the shootings of black men and police officers.

We have all reached this point in history together. None of us have walked the same path, but here we are: a group of people trying to make sense of brutality, hatred and violence. While none of us fully appreciate the differences in our cultural, historical and experiential background, we do understand how we have got here. Our walks through time leave us shaded with bias.

Montessori schools teach and emphasize the importance of life—all life. From the indescribably large cosmos to the tiniest one-celled organisms, life holds wonder. It inspires awe. Life offers beauty and opportunity. Life emits energy. That energy binds all of us together on this planet, spinning on its axis and traveling round the sun.

Philando Castile, who was killed by a St. Anthony police officer, worked in a Montessori school and served over 500 Montessori students. He worked in the cafeteria, providing lunch to students, and by accounts published over the past few weeks, he also modeled grace and courtesy to those students, acting as an example of what it means to be human within a community.

The children at Philando Castile’s school are taught that because we are bound together, everyone and everything deserves to be treated with respect. In Montessori environments, children care for animals and plants, feeding them, cleaning them, and touching them with small and gentle hands. They care for each other-- providing encouragement to students who have courageously stepped before the entire class to present an idea or work. Children use words of respect and care when criticizing each other or resolving a conflict.

I know that the causes of violence and racism in our communities are complex and engrained in our culture. We have an opportunity to teach our children how to relate to one another and how to find peaceful solutions to fear and anger.

Montessori schools like ours hold an important and transformative place in the world. We are at this point in time together.

Stepping Stones will join schools around the world on September 21 in singing a song of peace around the entire globe. Here are some of the lyrics.

Light a candle for peace

Light a candle for love

Light a candle that shines all the way around the world


Stepping Stones will join schools around the world on September 21 in singing a song of peace around the entire globe. Symbolic? Maybe.  But, we have the opportunity to introduce our children to the language of peace. While we’re together at this point in time, let’s live as though we mean it.



P.S.—If you’re interested, you can check out the initiative to sing peace around the world here.