Saturday, March 26, 2011

Starting When Kids Are Young

Eight years ago I had the pleasure of speaking at a very special school in Albertville, Alabama, several hours south of Birmingham. Big Spring Lake Kindergarten School was configured decades ago as a place where young children of all races could come together to learn under one roof. Big Spring Lake proudly has proudly continued its tradition of peacemaking and acceptance, teaching all their children that "we're the same inside." The peacemaking program that started at Big Spring Lake has since spread to other schools in the district. Veteran teacher, Wanda Pollard, recently gave me an update on some of the many things Big Spring Lake, and other schools in Albertville are doing to promote peace, tolerance, and kindness:

"I provided some pictures so you could see the lasting  effects your work has had in  our school system.  Our kindergarten students have said the peace pledge  every morning  as a total school -- led over the intercom  along with the pledge to the flag -- for the past eight years! Teachers continue to make the teaching of peacemaking skills an integral part of the curriculum.  We have witnessed the effectiveness of this teaching as students learn to actively use conflict resolution skills. I look forward to continuing to learn to provide students with the skills needed to enjoy a peaceful life . . both in school and out! 

This picture is painted on a wall in the main office next to the principal's door. Its prominent display lets students, parents, and visitors know the importance our school places on teaching and practicing peacemaking skills:  

Conflict resolution guidelines used throughout the school

Thank you, Wanda, for your inspiring words! And thanks to all the teachers, administrators, and parents who support the work of peacemaking. You're doing what all schools need to do each day: educating children to be peacemakers in a world desperately in need of peace. May your work continue to spread.
Qualities of peacemakers taught to children school-wide

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