On Friday, Sept. 20, every student at Field Elementary School took a walk around the neighborhood in support of peace and celebration of International Day of Peace.
The peace walk was supported and led by Field teachers, who coordinated school wide lessons, activities and experiences for students to learn about peace for 10 days leading up to the walk, says Jody Tetlow, fourth-grade teacher at Field.
“What that looks like is that we take time to explore what peace is, what empathy looks and feels like, and how we might be the change that we wish to see in the world around us,” said Tetlow.
In its second year, the entire Field Community learned about International Day of Peace for nearly two weeks prior to the walk. As a culminating event, school community members, parents and families joined students on their walk, who sang songs about peace taught by Field’s music teacher.
“We also had older students be buddies for younger students, helping them and being role models,” says Tetlow. “My fourth-graders had first-grade buddies, and we talked about how they can be a role model, how they could help their buddy walk or sing. Learning to be a role model, how you yourself can have peace and share it with others, is powerful.”
Field learners spend each day focused on being mindful, responsible, empathetic global citizens as part of the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme. Desire to take positive action is one of the foundational principles of the inquiry-based learning method, and Peace Day gave students a chance to learn about positive change.
And throughout the school year, students and staff may gather again for peace touch stones, where they together re-center their attention to empathetic, mindful practices and remember what they learned as a school community during Peace Day, says Tetlow.
“The peace our students are learning about is all encompassing,” she says. “We’re trying to emphasize internal mindfulness and awareness, while also encouraging a willingness to be open-minded and knowledgeable. It’s all a part of becoming active, compassionate lifelong learners.”