Center nonviolence trainer Lacey Feeley awarded American Montessori Society Peace Grant

Lacey Feeley, one of the Center’s nonviolence trainers and middle school teacher at the Quest Montessori School in Narragansett, RI, was awarded a prestigious American Montessori Society Peace Grant.

The American Montessori Society Peace Committee awards annual Peace Seed Grants to help fund projects that promote peace education.

Feeley introduced the study of peace and nonviolence to the middle school community this fall through the study of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Gandhi. During the first two weeks of school, students explored the following modules through reading, discussion and interactive activities:
Shared Values
The 6 Principles of Nonviolence:
1. Nonviolence is a way of life for courageous people.
2. The Peaceful Community is the goal for the future.
3. Attack problems, not people.
4. Know and do what is right, even if it is difficult.
5. Avoid hurting the spirit and body of yourself and others.
6. The Universe is on the side of justice.
The 6 Steps of Conflict Reconciliation:
1. Information Gathering
2. Education
3. Personal Commitment
4. Negotiation
5. Direct Action
6. Reconciliation
Types of Conflict
Understanding Violence & Nonviolence
Various Civil Rights Movements

Now that the foundation has been laid, these nonviolent philosophies have become an integral part of the middle school program. The adolescent community is able to address conflict and utilize a restorative process of reconciliation. Having a common framework and language to communicate has proven to be effective for this group of young adults.  This knowledge has also provided a lens for which to discuss current events in the news and be active nonviolent practitioners to make social change.

Feeley identified the following goals to be (partially) supported by this grant:

  • Training Quest teachers and staff in Kingian Nonviolence through the Summer Institutes at the University of Rhode Island’s Center for Nonviolence and Peace Studies and Nonviolent Schools RI.
  • Offering the University of Rhode Island’s Center for Nonviolence and Peace Studies Summer Institute to one or two rising eighth grade students.  This will allow students to immerse themselves in the content and meet peacemakers and leaders from all over the world.
  • Creating a Nonviolence and Peace library for students and teachers with books of varying reading levels.
  • Setting up annual professional development workshops for Quest teachers and staff related to diversity and inclusion.
  • Implementation of a two-week curriculum based around the teachings of King and Gandhi at the beginning of the school year in Lower Elementary, Upper Elementary, and Middle School.
  • Annual hosting of a Peace Night at Quest.
  • Designing and creating a school mural that depicts the Six Principles of Nonviolence.

Feeley is responsible for Middle School Science & Occupations. She comes to Quest with experience teaching both middle school and high school science. She holds a BS&A in Biology and Education and a Master of Social Work with a focus in child and adolescent trauma. Through the URI  S.M.I.L.E Program, she developed inquiry-based curriculum for STEM after school programs for 4th through 12th grade students from more than 20 schools throughout the state.  Feeley owns and runs a farm which specializes in heritage breed animals with a focus on biodynamic farming and sustainable living.  She is particularly interested in social justice as it relates to food production.  Feeley is a Kingian nonviolence trainer, which focuses on the philosophies of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., through the Center for Nonviolence and Peace Studies at URI.

Congratulations to Lacey Feeley on this award and in recognizing all the work that is being done at Quest to support this social mission.