Montessori Center School’s children, teachers and parents will gather on Oct. 24 to commemorate United Nations Day with activities intended to celebrate multiculturalism and the ideals fostered within the school community.

Those ideals include peace, respect, tolerance, unity, friendship, diversity and inclusion.
 
“It is one of our favorite days of the year,” said Melanie Jacobs, head of school.

“The children embrace the culture of the countries they are studying by researching them, coloring flags from one of their favorite nations, dressing in costumes from around the world, and hanging the flags of different countries on campus,” she said.

“The elementary students prepare a potluck dish from the country they research and bring together peace quotes from individuals around the world,” she said.

“Our goal with this event is to promote respect, tolerance, and understanding of all cultures and peace — all tenets of the Montessori philosophy,” Jacobs said.
 
Exprected to attend the event are Barbara Gaughen-Muller, president of the United Nations Association, Santa Barbara Chapter, and William H. Hill representing the Channel City Club’s Santa Barbara Foreign Relations Committee.

Gaughen-Muller is the widow of Robert Muller, former U.N. assistant secretary general. Hill is a retired Foreign Service officer and a global fellow with the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, D.C.

The day will open with the student body gathering at the Peace Pole on the campus lawn. A candle-lighting ceremony follows, led by two students from each classroom.

“The candle-lighting ceremony represents our unity as a school, and our place in the broader, multicultural society,” Jacops said.

“Part of what we emphasize at Montessori Center School is the idea that our students are citizens of the world. This event helps to define that,” she said.

The kids will sing, then follow sixth-graders who will carry a huge peace dove across campus to the multipurpose building to see a performance of acoustic Balkan music and dance by Santa Barbara-based Middle Eastern ensemble, Kalinka.

The event concludes with a potluck of dishes from around the world.

“One of our primary goals at Montessori Center School is to provide an environment where the children learn by engaging with each other in activities that encourage intellectual, social, physical, creative and moral development,” Jacobs said.

“In a world that is constantly changing, we believe it’s important to prepare students not only for academic excellence and lifelong learning, but also to teach them how to live confident, responsible, caring lives,” she said.
 
For more about Montessori Center School, visit http://mcssb.org/.
 
— Jonatha King for Montessori Center School.