Child and Adolescent therapy office of Janice M. Bryk LCSW in Westfield displays the Christopher Academy Peace Quilt.

"Establishing lasting peace is the work of education: all politics can do is keep us out of war," Dr. Maria Montessori said.

Educating young children for peace is a valued component at the Christopher Academy school, and so it was quite natural for the children in Barbara McElhey's 3 to 6-year-old class to create a Peace quilt for travel. Ms. McElheny stated, "We are thrilled to have our Peace Quilt exhibited at Janice Bryk's child psychotherapy office in Westfield."

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What started out as an artistic idea developed into a meaningful project launched by the support of an American Montessori Society Ursula Thrust Peace Seed grant. The children participated in fabric concept activities and learned how quilts can serve as a vehicle for spreading a message. They hired a master quilter to professionally gather their personalized scraps of fabric and secure a work of art. Their quilt has traveled through both their campuses and was exhibited at Imagine, a Center for Coping with Loss's new location in Mountainside.

We reflect upon the many small hands that helped to create the quilt however it pales compared to the reminder of peace it has reached within our community thanks to the centers like it's current location. Janice Bryk and associates displayed their quilt in their waiting room, and had patients record how viewing the quilt made them feel, as well as what their vision of peace would look like.

"It was a very therapeutic experience to have our patients view and express their feelings and ideas about peace by observing the quilt," said Ms. Bryk.  "We also incorporated stories and exercises about peace in our group therapy sessions." It brought about a sense of hope and inspiration for our therapists and all the families we serve. 

The quilt has an active schedule and will continue to be traveling within the tri-state area in the hopes to spread seeds of peace.