21 Sep “Peace and Love” Classrooms
Written by Lucía Dávila, Guatemala City, Guatemala
The United Nations has invited us all to honor a cessation of hostilities during the International Day of Peace, and to otherwise commemorate the day through education and public awareness.
What a better way to accept this invitation than by discussing peace education? This phrase even includes a rhyme!
In the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), peace education is defined as
the process of promoting the knowledge, skills, attitudes and values needed to bring about behavior change that will enable children, youth and adults to prevent conflict and violence, both overt and structural; to resolve conflict peacefully; and to create the conditions conducive to peace, whether at an interpersonal, intergroup, national or international level.
In other words, peace education is the process of acquiring values, knowledge, and developing the attitudes, skills, and behaviors to live in harmony with oneself, with others, and with
the natural environment.
As teachers, it is important for our students to acquire the necessary skills to prevent conflict and to look for peaceful resolutions. Furthermore, it is our job to create a child-friendly learning environment where our students will feel safe and will receive a peace-minded quality education.
We would like to present you with some peace-related activities suggested by the San
Antonio, Texas PeaceCenter. Give them a try in your classrooms and let us know how it goes!
Signing a Peace Pledge
Everyone can sign a pledge, either individually or in a group signing ceremony. Kids for Peace shares an example of a simple yet powerful Peace Pledge for our students:
I pledge to use my words to speak in
a kind way.
I pledge to help others as I go
throughout my day.
I pledge to care for our earth with
my healing heart and hands.
I pledge to respect people in each
and every land.
I pledge to join together as we
unite the big and small.
I pledge to do my part to create PEACE for one
You can also ask your students to sign one online at thepeacepledge.org
Peace Symbols – Peace is in My Hands
Throughout history, symbols from the olive branch to the rainbow have symbolized peace.
Learn about these peace signs – and ask your students to make their own!
For more information you can use a dictionary of peace symbols.
A New Language of Peace
Every language has a word for peace: “Mir.” “Shalom.” “Paz.” “Wolakota.” Learn how to
say peace in other languages and use this exercise as a springboard to discuss
the meaning of peace.
My Day in Peace and Justice History
Almost everyone is interested in events that happened on their birthdays! Assign
students to report on a Peace & Justice history event that is on or closest
to their birthdays.
For more information you can use a month-by-month Peace & Justice history timeline.
We also would like to share some books you could use to introduce the subject in
* Somewhere Today: A Book of Peace – Shelley Moore Thomas
* Can You Say Peace – Karen Katz
* All the Colors of the Earth – Sheila HamanakaPeace
* One Day: The Making of World Peace Day – Jeremy Gilley
* Let There Be Peace: Prayers from Around the World – Jeremy Brooks
* What Does Peace Feel Like? – Vladimir Radunsky
Your students can get involved to bring about constructive change, both locally and globally!
We challenge the culture of violence when we ourselves act in the certainty that violence is no longer acceptable, that it’s tired and outdated no matter how many cling to it in the
stubborn belief that it still works and that it’s still valid. – Gerard Vanderhaar