Grade Level: Kindergarten through high school
Peace begins in our hearts and our minds, but must be fostered by the actions we take. Young children need to know that adults value a peaceful world and are willing to work towards this goal.
1. Read students one or more of the following books. For elementary: Peace Begins with Me, The Gold Rule, A Little Peace, and What Does Peace Feel Like. For upper levels Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes and Hiroshima. Share with them the Peace Pledge of Nonviolence and have them sign the pledge. Here is a simplified version for younger students.
2. Brainstorm a list of ways students could help create a more peaceful school, community, and world.
3. Discuss the symbolism of the dove as a sign of peace.
4. Pass out dove patterns [See: 3d Heart dove pattern, or dove worksheet ] and invite students to write their ideas on the dove. Younger children can draw themselves acting as a peacemaker. Alternatively, make one huge peace dove for the class either from paper or flexible foam and have students write their ideas on the dove.
4. End by hanging up the doves in the classroom or school or other public space, or carry it in a peace rally or march. [Enhance the rally or march by making giant dove puppets] Keep the list of ideas the children brainstormed and put stars next to an idea each time a student or someone in the school, community or world (check the news) carries out the idea.
At the Homer Brink School in Maine-Endwell, teachers and students wrote a personal peace pledge on doves or on feathers for a large dove to be displayed in the lobbies of each school. This coordinated with International Human Rights Day on December 10th. The School Peace Pledge appropriate for each level was shared and students wrote their names on a giant peace dove. Homer Brink School held a peace gathering. Marching to Red Grammar's"Teaching Peace" song students gathered in concentric circles and recited the Peace Pledge, followed by a singing of the song.