The American Montessori Society Peace Committee has awarded the Ursula Thrush Peace Seed Grant to Greenspring Montessori School and a partnering parent group to fund a project that promotes peace education.

This grant was created by the American Montessori Society Peace Committee to honor the memory of Ursula Thrush.  Dr. Thrush’s extraordinary dedication to fulfilling Maria Montessori’s vision for peace through children inspired many Montessori educators to include peace education in their classrooms and communities.  Among her numerous achievements, Ursula founded the Maria Montessori School of the Golden Gate in San Francisco and helped establish The Science of Peace Task Force and the Montessori Peace Academy.

Greenspring Montessori’s grant submission was prepared in partnership with a group of Greenspring Montessori parent volunteers who have been gathering to discuss their own challenges and aspirations for their children as it concerns diversity, equity, inclusion, justice, and belonging.  In addition to supporting one another, the parent group felt called to support the school in providing whatever education, resources, materials, and open dialogue was needed to support Greenspring in becoming the embodiment of peaceful society Maria Montessori and Ursula Thrush envisioned.

“The Peace Seed Grant Committee is impressed with the originality of your project and the deep thought that has gone into it.  We are pleased to award this grant for a project that is consciously working toward understanding and further Social Justice among the many teachers, parents and students at your school.  We are also impressed with the 19 different languages that are already a part of the school.  The timing of this project is excellent!”  -Award letter from Lesley Nan Haberman, Sonnie McFarland, and Judi Bauerlein

The Ursula Thrush Peace Seed Grant will support the school to:

1. Provide an introductory professional development workshop for Greenspring Montessori School staff to clarify what diversity, equity and inclusion is, how it is relevant to their work, and to begin to explore why diversity, equity and inclusion learning is critical to deepen their understanding of and ability to provide proper support for the varying needs of Greenspring Montessori School’s diverse student base.

2. Offer a workshop to Greenspring Montessori staff and parents on identifying and combating unconscious and implicit bias.

3. Offer a workshop to Greenspring Montessori staff and parents on age-appropriate best practices for talking with your children about race.

The grant activities will begin in fall of 2019 and will be complete by January 2020.  These activities are a small subset of a larger body of work in the areas of diversity, equity, inclusion, justice, and belonging that the school is committed to carrying out in the years to come.