Sixth graders at Milwaukee Montessori School spend seven weeks each year honing their roles as national leaders, diplomats, arms dealers, bankers, United Nations officials, and even a high-level saboteur, all in the quest for global equity, peace, and justice. Milwaukee Montessori’s World Peace Game is the culminating experience for sixth graders, a chance for students to show what they have learned in a year studying economic geography, globalization, trade, standards of living, and conflict resolution.
When upper elementary directress Meghan Kearns first heard John Hunter explain his World Peace Game at an education conference, she realized, “We had to do this!” Ever since Maria Montessori, influenced by Gandhi, developed the revered Montessori peace curriculum in the 1930s, educators have known that the complex simulations and the prospect of addressing world problems can spark deep student engagement, critical thinking, and creative problem-solving.
Of The World Peace Game, Kearns says, “it’s exactly what our kids are ready for, exactly the kind of independent thinking we want them to do, connecting their school knowledge with real issues in the outside world.” The student reflecting on the hard, collaborative, high-stakes decisions that the Game requires, Kearns says, “can become a different person, understanding new things about yourself, understand how you can make an impact. I know I have kids I will read about in the future when they start changing the world.”