Teaching Peace

Anna Nolan

Peace on Earth.

It’s what we all want when we are very young children. We can’t understand why grown-ups fight and how conflict starts. We live in a time and place where racial, religious, and cultural intolerance is an everyday occurrence. Violence between groups of people happens in neighbourhoods, schools, and within families.

How do we raise healthy, strong children in a time like this?

What do we need to do to give children the tools to find their way and to transform the world they are inheriting?

The place where we need to start teaching children about Peace is, of course, in the home. But it can be very helpful, not to mention powerful, if the children’s school also places an emphasis on it.

One of the schools we are working with for this year’s Little Big Peace Event is St Andrew’s RC Primary school here in Streatham.  They have already taken this onboard and are spending a lot of time on the subject of Peace.

St Andrew’s are very involved with the wonderful initiative Release the Peace.

Release the Peace was set up by The Jimmy Mizen Foundation in order to encourage young people to be positive forces within their communities.

The driving forces behind the initiative are Margaret Mizen and Grace Idowu whose young sons were victims of the violence of other young people in 2008. They have been working to bring Peace as a positive response to their deaths ever since.

The 8th of June this year marked the beginning of “100 days of Peaceful events”, promoting the work young people do within their communities to create a safer society.

St Andrew’s marked this day by holding a special Peace Assembly for the whole school in their hall. All classes had prepared a special song about Peace and friendship and performed it for the other students and teachers. They have also held a Peace prayer competition; each class have been writing their own prayer for Peace to enter into this. The winning poem will be professionally printed and framed and hung in the chapel. The school has continued the Peace theme since June, and have held regular Peace assemblies where the specially written peace prayers have been read out.

More Peace activities are being planned at the school; for example, they will organise a Peace walk with the children at the beginning of the new school year.

Its great to see a school put so much work and effort into Peace awareness for the children. St Andrew’s really are an inspiration and we hope that many more schools will follow in their path of creating a more Peaceful society.

Anna Nolan, 30/07/12


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