Teaching Peace and Justice

In an effort to teach about peace and justice, and in celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Day, I’ve partnered with Katie to make PEACE a more overt focus of our curriculum. As we talk with children about peace, we can consider the many things we do each day to contribute toward peace. Our simple actions contribute to the peaceful climate we create in both our homes and in our classroom, which are the foundation to young children’s learning.

peace sign

We can:  Be friendly, smile, include others, listen to others, help, be kind, say “No” to hurting, use gentle hands, stand up for our friends when someone is hurt or something is not fair, share toys, and on…

We’ll include signs and symbols of peace throughout our classroom. Children may paint peace symbols and peace doves at the easel; we’ll uncover a secret peace message with watercolor paints;  we’ll sing a new peace song at circle; and we’ll learn how to make the peace sign with our hands (pointer and middle finger up while thumb, pinky and ring finger are bent down).

We can also share about our history of some people not treating others with the same care and respect we all deserve. We can share that there are many who stand up for what is right- – those who boldly say “No” to excluding or harming others.  We can teach about the history of racial inequity and about institutional oppression in which some people unfairly treat those they  deem as “other, “including people with differing abilities, queer people, girls and women, people with less financial means, people who are homeless and on.  Naming the sad reality of the mistreatment of many can feel heavy, but we can simultaneously offer a hopeful message, sharing about the many people who courageously fight for equity and justice. As we can shine the light on the caring actions of those people who stand up for justice, we can encourage our children to do the same.  We can open both our minds and hearts to the reality of the current situation and we can be agents of change for the better.

Please join me in talking with  your children about PEACE at home as well at school.  I’m eager to hear your observations, questions or suggestions for how to move forward with this important topic.

I’m sharing the lyrics to our newest song so you can also sing at home:

P-E-A-C-E (Tune of Bingo)
There is a way that we can live, and peace is the way
PEACE, PEACE, PEACE… And peace is the way.

 

Peace is holding someone’s hand — and being a good friend
(clap) E-A-C-E…And being a good friend.
Peace is dancing to the beat –and having fun together
(clap- clap) A-C-E…And having fun together.

 

Peace is sharing your friendly smile — and spreading lots of sunshine
(clap- clap- clap) C-E…And spreading lots of sunshine.

 

Peace is choosing not to hurt — and playing safe together
(clap- clap- clap- clap) E…And playing safe together.

 

Peace is helping with our hands — and being kind to others
clap- clap- clap – clap- clap …And being kind to others.


Also, here’s a chant we’ve been singing to underscore our values when considering various skin colors and facial feature

Same, Same, Different
Same, same, different. All good ways to be.

Looking at you and looking at me.

Same, same, different. All good ways to be.
Looking at you and looking at me.


We’ll continue to share ideas of teaching Peace and Justice at our  Community Meeting on Wed., Jan. 21st, 6:30-8:30 p.m..



 

 

 

2 thoughts on “Teaching Peace and Justice

  1. april says:

    I love hearing your insight on how we can better talk with our kids about important ideas like “what is peace and justice?”. I often feel like it is easy to say the wrong thing but i know that my kids are learning about these things already and it is important that i talk with them. I want my kids to hear that another world is possible and that what we do each day is part of that change. Lets keep this conversation going. Thank you Susan!

  2. Katy says:

    Out of the blue today, Nate said “peace means showing two fingers at a time.” It opened the door for us to briefly talk about peace and justice during our regular daily routine. Thank you for giving us some words (and symbols) to begin talking about social justice with our little ones.

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