Thursday, September 22, 2011

9/29 International Peace Day

How do you define peace to a small child? Is it enough to use the dictionary definition of:
a. in a state or relationship of non-belligerence or concord; not at war.
b. untroubled; tranquil; content.
Most small children will not understand this definition and most parents will be thankful that their children do not understand "war, belligerent and troubled". To teach the concept of peace to smaller children you must think locally and show globally.
Begin by discussing how your child and her friends do not all look alike. Some people have blond hair, brown hair, red hair or black hair. Some people are tall, some people are not. Some people have light skin, some people have dark skin. Just because someone does not look like you, does not mean you can not be friends. We are all friends. After this discussion, you can help the children by making a unity wreath. The picture above is from the Kansas City Public Library. It would be great to have each child trace their hands enough time that each student has one hand print from every friend. If you do not want to trace all of those hands, they can also leave paint hand prints and cut those out when dry.
Another great activity would be to make a peace sign using the children's hand prints. Draw a large peace sign on a peace of butcher paper. Set out a large selection of paints (finger paints or craft paint) and allow the children to dip their hand in any color and put it on the peace sign. The picture above is a poster from All Posters but gives you an idea of what to create with a child.
Act out peaceful and non peaceful situations with the kids. When they are all together, use puppets or stuffed animals to act out the events. Maybe have one animal call another a name. Now have one animal ask the other to play with them. Ask the kids which act was peaceful and which act was not. Discuss how everyone thinks the animal felt in the non-peaceful act and what we can all do to make our friends feel good. How can we bring peace into our lives?
Take time to remind the children each day how to bring peace into life. Provide small tokens, like a peace sign sticker when you observe the children playing well. Eventually children will understand peace and hopefully embrace it in their daily life.

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