World Peace Day is a wonderful opportunity to focus on peace at home and at school.
On the heels of the Nobel Peace Prize Forum, comes World Peace Day, September 21. This is the day people in schools and homes across the world will sit down with their children and talk about peace. According to the United Nations website, the International Day of Peace this year “. . . will focus on engaging and mobilizing people throughout the world to show support for refugees and migrants.”
How is World Peace Day Relevant?
Those who are not suffering from a war-torn environment can sometimes push aside this day as irrelevant for them. However, so many of our actions have world-wide implications. We need to remember we can do something in all communities to bring people together and enhance their safety and dignity. For young children, we can introduce them to child-friendly conflict resolution and peacemaking materials, and much more. Keep reading for some ideas.
The Smart Tools for Life project, “I STOP for Peace”
The Smart Tools for Life project, “I STOP for Peace”, focuses on drawing attention to the peaceful conflict resolution techniques and acts of kindness and caring already present in the child’s world. It invites children to share a story of how they worked out a problem with someone, or spent time playing with the new child in school, had a child from a different country or background over to their house, or brainstormed a solution to a problem that worked for all.
The “I STOP for Peace” campaign compiles and celebrates the individual acts children do to make “World Peace Day” everyday!
At the Smart Tools for Life website people can currently find out more about this campaign and how to submit a story. Smart Tools for Life is compiling them and will share them in an upcoming book. Those chosen as contributing stories for the book will be sent a free copy, and many of the stories will be featured in this blog.
Celebrated across the globe every year as the International Day of Peace, the goal of World Peace Day is to bring nations and people together. The theme for 2017 is “Together for Peace: Respect, Safety and Dignity for All”. The upcoming book, the second in the Barnyard Buddies series, “The Barnyard Buddies Meet a Refugee” will make this topic relevant to all young children as they watch the unhappy, lonely dog find acceptance and purpose in the group of Barnyard Buddies.
World Peace Day is especially timely and relevant this year
The subject of immigration and the refugee crisis have become a political battleground in the US, effectively splitting the population into two camps – those for and those against. It is urgent that we, as a society of global citizens, learn to resolve our conflicts, on this topic and others, in ways that enhance dignity, respect, and safety for all involved, rather than pursue ways that divide us.
But how do we do that? As Gandhi said, “We must begin with the children.” As we age, we can get set in our ways and less open to new or different ideas. Our children, however, are sponges that absorb new things easily. That’s why introducing children to a discussion of world peace through a discussion of peace in their classroom and home is so key to our shared future.
Smart Tools for Life creates children’s books, children’s music and other state-of-the-art resources that teach children how to problem solve in creative, respectful, and peaceful ways.
These materials provide practical and inspiration tools rooted in the latest concepts in neuroscience, social and emotional education, and environmental education. The materials are catchy and fun, and are a great way to introduce young learners to the idea that developing these skills and caring for themselves, others, and the planet, is not only fun and engaging, it’s a normal part of their learning process.
By sharing these tools with children, influencers help kids become the leaders of tomorrow, capable of co-creating a culture we all want to live in.
The children easily grasp the skills for conflict resolution and anger management when they are presented in an engaging story like “The Barnyard Buddies Stop for Peace.”
This link is to Barnes and Noble. You can also find it on Amazon. They will refer to the Barnyard Buddies long after the story is read in the classroom or home. The book is available on Kindle and other electronic formats, so you can get it right away to read and share with children on World Peace Day.
The Barnyard Buddies STOP for Peace in Action
I heard a wonderful story from a parent who told me they went to the zoo after reading the Barnyard Buddies book and the four-year-old child said, “Oh look! The zebras are not sharing their shelter! They need to have Mrs. McCloud (the peacemaking owl in the story) help them learn to be peacemakers.” The four-year-old-child easily made this connection. With a little adult coaching, children can find how they are like the characters in the book, too.
Everybody remembers the Dr. Seuss stories they read to their children, or heard as children. That’s because this type of story sinks deeply into the hearts and minds of kids, often for life. At Smart Tools for Life, we create similar stories: fun, engaging, rhyming, with great art, that have a message. We recognize it’s not just what we teach that matters, but how we teach.
When Rebecca Janke and I co-authored Peacemaker’s A,B,Cs for Young Children in 1995, we were happy to see it go into approximately 13,000 locations. Though we have changed from an A,B,C,D,E process to S,T,O,P, the material in that book is still very useful. Since you can get it so inexpensively used now, you may want to get a copy for your reference. Here are some ideas from that book.
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10 Ideas for World Peace Day
- Guide children to start seeing peace. “Peacemakers look to create peace rather than waiting for peace to happen. Peace is an active process! It can be fun and exciting, and more entertaining than violent images. . . The most powerful act anyone can do for peace is continue to see it, share it and live it.” (from “Peacemaker’s A,B,Cs for Young Children” page 9). To get this concept across to the child/ren, play “I Spy With My Little Eye Something Peaceful and it’s _______________” as a circle activity, or driving in the car, etc.
- Tell a story to your child/ren about how you were a peacemaker, a way you worked for peace, or a way you cooled off and didn’t explode when you were angry.
- Listen to the stories they share. Write them down (and submit them with their permission-of course. Only first names will be used when we share it).
- Read and be inspired by a book about a great peacemaker. Share a short summary with the children, or find an age-appropriate book to read them.
- Take an action for peace, like encourage your local library to have a peace section for children’s books.
- Ask the children for ideas of how to make the classroom or home more peaceful. Record their ideas. Agree by consensus on an idea to try.
- Rewrite a story with alternatives to violence. Pick a children’s book or movie they know, and experiment with rewriting/reimagining it as a peacemaking/creativity exercise.
- Make a peace mural featuring children’s artwork, pictures of people of different cultures working together, peaceful images of nature, peace flags, and quotations.
- Take time to think about refugees and those suffering from migration challenges, floods, hurricanes, and so on. Write a poem or a letter of encouragement and hopefulness to someone.
- Share a food from a country where war is causing disruption and discuss with the children how the kids in that area of the world are living now, and how they might not be able to have their favorite food right now.
World Peace Day is Everyday at Smart Tools for Life
Smart Tools for Life is an ongoing project of the nonprofit, Growing Communities for Peace. It serves parents and educators by providing children’s books and children’s music, and makes it easy and engaging to bring state-of-the-art social skills like peacemaking, peacekeeping, and peacebuilding, to young children, thereby encouraging more harmonious, sustainable relationships with others and the planet.
The materials are designed to develop peace literacy as they educate, entertain, and empower all those involved to strengthen families, classrooms, and neighborhoods. They also provide other teacher and parent education to support and maintain a culture of peace.
World Peace Day is a wonderful opportunity to focus on peace at home and at school.