OUR VALUES IN ACTION
International Day of Peace
Maria Montessori's vision for a peaceful world is ingrained in every aspect of the Montessori method of education. Thus, we take great care at Wellan to teach our students to do the work of peace. Every October, we celebrate International Peace Day as an entire school community. Students, faculty, and staff gather together to sing “Light a Candle for Peace.” Students also distribute “Pinwheels for Peace” to local businesses and plant them in our School’s front lawn.
Students in grades 3 and up at Wellan explore social responsibility through lessons about food insecurity in our local community, country, and the world. Every year in November, Wellan students organize a collection of food items requested by the Centre Street Food Pantry. They pack all up the donations received from families and deliver them to the pantry, where a staff member educates them about food insecurity specifically in Newton.
Service Saturdays are a school-wide initiative inspired by the Montessori ideals of peace and kindness. Sponsored by the Parent Association, these special days allow families to spend quality time together while serving the local community. Through these events, we hope to inspire, challenge, and empower everyone in the Wellan community to make this world a better place. Past projects completed on Service Saturdays include preparing care packages for children in foster care, making hats and neck-warmers to donate to Cradles to Crayons, cleaning up a nearby field used for youth sports, and assembling "dignity bags" for the unhoused.
MLK Day of Service
At Wellan, we recognize that Anti-Racism work is a collective effort. One opportunity members of the Wellan community have to participate in Anti-Racism work is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service, an event sponsored by the Wellan Parent Association annually in January to celebrate the life and work of Dr. King. Each year, the community completes a different service project together — past projects include making social justice-themed yard signs and creating a collage of peace doves to be displayed at City Hall.
Walk for Hunger
As mentioned above, elementary and middle school students at Wellan learn extensively about economic geography and the issue of food insecurity. The Wellan Parent Association provides an opportunity for students and their families to extend this learning through taking action in the local community by organizing a team to participate in Project Bread’s Walk for Hunger each May. A Massachusetts tradition that began in 1969, the Walk for Hunger is a community movement aiming to change the face of food insecurity in Massachusetts. By participating in the walk, Wellan helps to raise money for state-wide anti-hunger relief initiatives and advocates for policies that make food more accessible for everyone.
Sponsored by the Parent Association and initiated by a Wellan Faculty member, the Wellan Pride Parade takes place annually each June. Wellan’s LGBTQIA+ families and allies gather together to demonstrate for equal rights and show their support for individuals of all gender identities and sexual orientations. The Wellan Pride Parade is an exciting, colorful, and joyful opportunity for our students, families, and faculty members to celebrate their own identities as well as the wide array of identities that comprise the Wellan community.
Recent Social Justice Action
At Wellan, we know that we need to prepare our students—the next generation of global citizens—to work in collaboration with others towards a more peaceful and just world. We recognize that as educators it is our responsibility to provide students meaningful opportunities to engage in advocacy, so they may learn that their voices are powerful.
Peace Walk for Ukraine
In the spring of 2022, after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, a group of 6th year students who wished to take action worked with the Wellan Parent Association to host a Walk for Ukraine. Students from all divisions, families, and staff members participated in this walk to demonstrate their wish for peace and show support for Ukrainian citizens.
Walk in Solidarity with the Women of Iran
A similar walk, organized by a Wellan alumnus, took place in the fall of 2022 following the killing of Mahsa Amini. This Walk in Solidarity with the Women of Iran was a meaningful opportunity for our community to demonstrate for gender equity in all countries.
Food Insecurity Community Mural
Another recent student initiative that highlighted the interconnectedness of community organizations was a project in which our Voyager middle school students worked with Artists for Humanity, the Newton Community Farm, and Centre Street Food Pantry to design and create a mural depicting the increase in visits to the Pantry since 2016, raising awareness about food insecurity in Newton and neighboring towns. This project not only provided a context in which students could take action in their community, but it helped them authentically practice the skills required to collaborate with multiple organizations in their community.
Explore More Learning for Justice Resources Here.