Middle School Teacher Awarded American Montessori Society Peace Grant

Peaceful social transformation depends largely on leaders who are educated in the strategies and methods of Nonviolence. As Maria Montessori strongly believed, this starts with children.

I am thrilled to announce that Lacey Feeley, our Middle School Science & Occupations teacher, has been awarded an Ursula Thrush Peace Seed Grant in the amount of $500 by the American Montessori Society (AMS). The American Montessori Society Peace Committee awards annual Peace Seed Grants to help fund projects that promote peace education.

Lacey introduced the study of Peace and Nonviolence to the middle school community this Fall through the study of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Ghandi. During the first two weeks of school, students explored the following modules through reading, discussion, and interactive activities:
Shared Values
The 6 Principles of Nonviolence:
1. Nonviolence is a way of life for courageous people.
2. The Peaceful Community is the goal for the future.
3. Attack problems, not people.
4. Know and do what is right, even if it is difficult.
5. Avoid hurting the spirit and body of yourself and others.
6. The Universe is on the side of justice.
The 6 Steps of Conflict Reconciliation:
1. Information Gathering
2. Education
3. Personal Commitment
4. Negotiation
5. Direct Action
6. Reconciliation
Types of Conflict
Understanding Violence & Nonviolence
Various Civil Rights Movements

Now that the foundation has been laid, these nonviolent philosophies have become an integral part of our middle school program. The adolescent community is able to address conflict and utilize a restorative process of reconciliation. Having a common framework and language to communicate has proven to be effective for this group of young adults.  This knowledge has also given us a lens for which to discuss current events in the news and be active nonviolent practitioners to make social change.

Lacey identified the following goals to be (partially) supported by this grant:

  • Training Quest teachers and staff in Kingian Nonviolence through the Summer Institutes at the University of Rhode Island’s Center for Nonviolence and Peace Studies and Nonviolent Schools RI.
  • Offering the University of Rhode Island’s Center for Nonviolence and Peace Studies Summer Institute to one or two rising eighth grade students.  This will allow students to immerse themselves in the content and meet peacemakers and leaders from all over the world.
  • Creating a Nonviolence and Peace library for students and teachers with books of varying reading levels.
  • Setting up annual professional development workshops for Quest teachers and staff related to diversity and inclusion.
  • Implementation of a two-week curriculum based around the teachings of King and Gandhi at the beginning of the school year in Lower Elementary, Upper Elementary, and Middle School.
  • Annual hosting of a Peace Night at Quest.
  • Designing and creating a school mural that depicts the Six Principles of Nonviolence.

Please join me in congratulating Lacey on this award and in recognizing all the work that is being done at Quest to support this social mission.