Lately, I’ve been thinking about how we build a foundation for peace with children. We can’t just wait until they are some magic age and use logic. No lesson works quite that easily. We have to both model peace and give opportunities for our children to play peace.
Building a peaceful foundation works best if you start when your children are babies and just shift the application as your children develop greater understanding. I gathered a few resources for you, from simple, first steps, to a classroom unit, to tools for nonviolent communication play with children.
The Alliance for Childhood offers “Ten Steps for Peace Education”, basic actions you can take every day:
“As the world struggles with increasing fears of war and violence, the Alliance for Childhood offers the following brief guide for parents and teachers who seek to nurture the values of compassion and good will in their children’s lives. It is easy to teach children about war. It is much more challenging to teach them how to create peace. These first steps on a path to peace require only small deeds, but will leave profound impressions.”
These ten steps can be integrated into your life with even very young children.
Teach Unicef has a whole classroom unit on Peace Education for Pre-K through 2nd Grade. This includes five lessons, videos, and audio for older children.
“Peace education is a natural tool to prevent conflict and to promote social, economic, and political justice amongst a nation’s youngest citizens. It can be integrated seamlessly throughout the curriculum as a learning process, equipping young children and adolescents with confliction resolution skills, respect for human diversity, and awareness of our interconnected world.”
The Center for Nonviolent Communication sells books and workbooks for adults as well as storybooks and puppets for children. Nonviolent Communication (NVC) has been an important part of how I have created a respectful, nurturing environment for my children.