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  • 1.  Incorporating peace education in your curriculum

    Posted 04-28-2017 11:18 AM

    We asked folks in our forum about questions they might have and this was a big one that came up:

    I want to incorporate peace education in my pre-k classroom but was told to stick with the set curriculum. This doesn't feel right to me. How have you all dealt with discouragements like this? Any ideas on how I could incorporate peace education anyway?

    Let me know your thoughts or responses below.

    Marilyn Shelton
    Facilitator, PEACE Educators Interest Forum


  • 2.  RE: Incorporating peace education in your curriculum

    Posted 04-29-2017 10:08 AM

    Peace education doesn't necessarily mean a different curriculum. There are many ways to incorporate the approach into what you already do. One thing that worked for me in a similar situation was to focus on establishing a climate of safety and respect. As a class group, we discussed what made us feel safe in our environment, then we brainstormed positive actions that we could do that contributed to a safe environment. Once we had the ideas listed and consolidated and stated in positive terms, we put them on a sheet of chart paper and called them AGREEMENTS. We each signed our name at the bottom of the sheet – signifying that we agreed to do these things. Below are the agreements the children came up with:


    1. Treat others the way you like to be treated
    2. Be responsible for ourselves
    3. Raise hand when we want to talk
    4. Use walking feet

    These Agreements were put up in the room, along with the school's RULES. As the year went on, I noticed that we rarely ever referred to the official rules, but frequently referenced the agreements.

    I am looking forward to hearing other suggestions for incorporating peace education.

    Seth Hayden
    Mendota Heights MN

  • 3.  RE: Incorporating peace education in your curriculum

    Posted 04-29-2017 07:53 PM
    For my classroom, the challenge is getting children to have a concern about others -- to have a concern beyond their immediate want/desire. A classroom guide has always been "take care of your community." This includes our learning community, our neighborhoods, and our city.
    One project we do is flood the street with art. This helps develop a sense of doing for other without an expectation for a reciprocal response. The children create art work and leave it in public spaces for others to find, take home, and love. The conversation about this project starts well before the activity. I use Because Amelia Smiledand Those Shoes as a conversation starter at story time. Afterwards, we spend much time pointing out when children put forth efforts intrinsically. After we create art (which we encourage parents to collaborate with children), we discuss and map places to leave the art.
    Of course, all this is supported by our curriculum which includes problem solving, play, and social/emotional development.

    Phillip Baumgarner
    Child Development Lab at River's Crossing
    University of Georgia

  • 4.  RE: Incorporating peace education in your curriculum

    Posted 04-30-2017 11:26 AM
    An important element of peace education is learning to communicate in a climate of language diversity. I think one step any teacher can take is to help children who speak different languages or who speak in different ways to respect each other and to learn and play together. Most early childhood classrooms have two or more languages. When children and teachers struggle to communicate with each other, the potential for conflict and misunderstandings is overwhelming. When teachers feel comfortable, prepared, and supported in celebrating this wonderful diversity, they can build an environment for peace. Research shows that young children benefit from being taught intentional strategies for communicating with friends who speak different languages such as speaking more slowly, patiently waiting for their friend to understand and respond, and showing or demonstrating to help their friends understand. Teachers who speak each child's home language, even just a little bit, can demonstrate an attitude of acceptance that influences the way children interact with each other. This is something every early childhood teacher can address without changing anything about their existing curriculum!

    Karen Nemeth
    Language Castle LLC
    Newtown PA

  • 5.  RE: Incorporating peace education in your curriculum

    Posted 05-01-2017 09:39 AM
    This is such an important question.  Peace education and the language that Karen referred to are caught up with other important human qualities present within human interaction.  Curriculum, as I see it is what the students are being taught and pedagogy are the tools for teaching.  If neither integrates learning with the idea of human connectedness than the human spirit is not a recognized component for learning. We all need human connectedness for leaning to occur.  We all need a loving, safe, beautify spaces to set curriculum and pedagogy. f you visit any amazing classroom, you will see that this idea of connectedness and respect are easily integrated within every aspect of the classroom...between teacher and child, child and other children, teacher and environment, and children and the environment.  This connectedness actually lays a foundation for learning.  It is more than social and emotional development.  It is about reaching into our spiritualness that pushes us all to be learners. Maria Montessori called this source or essence the child's spiritual embryo.  This is why there is such a need to look at spiritual development and its link to peace education (and nature education) as we begin to give recognition to this important, and often unspoken aspect of development - spiritual development.
    Deb Schein, Phd
    Young Children's Spirituality Interest Forum

    Deborah Schein
    Minneapolis MN