“If we are to teach real peace in this world, we shall have to begin with the children”
– Mahatma Gandhi
With so much conflict in the world today, it is essential for us, as educators, to discuss and reflect upon the urgent need for peace with children who will shape the future of tomorrow. With 21st September being observed as International Day of Peace, we at Hippocampus have put together a few ideas on how you can help children understand the significance of values such as respect and tolerance.
Here are 5 simple but amazing ideas that you could start with:
1. Sign a peace pledge
Make a large poster with the words ‘I Pledge to be a Peace-Maker’ and pin it up on your notice board. Talk to children about the importance of being a peace-maker, and ask them if they would like to be one. Ask the young peace-makers to sign their names under the pledge.
2. Inside and outside a peaceful world
Draw a globe on a large-sized chart paper. Ask students to write words that they equate with harmony inside the globe, and words that they associate with destruction of peace outside the globe.
3. Choose non-violence
Ask children what they understand of the world ‘conflict’. What does it mean to them? Tell them to think of a situation which would upset them or make them angry, and then take a minute to reflect on how they would deal with the same situation peacefully. Alternately, you can ask them to form groups and give each group a ‘tricky situation’ which they are expected to solve.
4. My peaceful hands…
Distribute A-4 sized papers to children and ask them to trace their palms on to it. Once they’re done tracing, ask them to write a sentence starting with the words ‘My Peaceful Hands…’ inside the tracing. Children are expected to finish the sentence keeping in mind something helpful that they have done recently. For example: My peaceful hands water the plants everyday, my peaceful hands helped my mother cook breakfast, etc.
5. Go on a silent march
Take children around the school on a silent peace march during the library hour. While they are marching around the school, the children can carry placards with messages of peace on them. You can also ask them to greet everyone they see at school with a smile, a hand shake or a hug.