There are many influences that drive the philosophy of Peace Through Play Nursery School.
One is the book "Putting Children First" by Elizabeth Erwin, Ed.D professor at Montclair State College. Another is “Because We Can Change The World” by Mara Sapon-Shevin, Ph.D and professor at Syracuse University, and most recently a book called “Child Honoring” by the world renowned children's artist and entertainer, Raffi Kervokian. These three influences speak so beautifully about how to create an inclusive world that honors, respects and is devoted to the rights of all children.
A Letter from the Director
Alan Miner-Berger, Director of Peace Through Play, featured on "Life Out Loud".
We call Peace Through Play Nursery School a "preschool with consciousness". All this really means is that we think a lot about what we want children to know about the world, and how we want them to impact positively on the world.
The world is a paradoxical place. There is so much beauty, love and joy. Children are innocent "sacred living things" (Lakota) that come into this world with all the potential to create goodness, kindness and well-being. There is also destruction, hatred and sorrow. There is terrible suffering in the world. As people of consciousness, with an awareness that these problems exist and wanting to do something about them, we want to give children beauty, love and joy and prepare them to effectively eliminate the destruction, hatred and sorrow.
Our belief is that if we give children a good moral/ethical grounding early in life, and let the parents in on the ways we are doing it, and the consciousness we want to arrive at, children will become people who will change the world – children who take their beauty, love and joy to all parts of the earth and expand what is good about human beings.
It's not cliché to quote Maria Montessori (attributed to Mahatma Gandhi), "If we are to have true peace in the world we must begin with the children". As a matter of fact it's a tenet that we live by. I know I truly believe that there can be world peace. That is to say, human beings can solve the problems of hunger, disease, bigotry and war – and create a world that is socially just and peaceful.
We all have to start somewhere to do this. For us at Peace Through Play Nursery School we are starting with children – wonderful and diverse children with wonderful and diverse parents who come from all walks of life.
Yes there are forces that work against these ends. Our media culture a long time ago discovered children as a target audience and are doing everything they can to exploit them. That's why you'll find at Peace Through Play ideas and ways you can positively impact on your children and have a say in what they are exposed to. You'll also find ideas and quotes about children to inspire you and help you to see how precious your children really are.
I once told a group of 24 children that they are going to make the world a peaceful place. They will be the ones who will know how to make decisions that bring peace to people and to nature. This is the essence of Peace Education – connecting with each other and connecting with nature.
Alan Berger, M.S.