Kingslake P.S. is a multicultural school community in Toronto and our students and teachers come from many countries around the world. Kingslake P.S. has been a member of Peaceful Schools International (PSI) since 2004.
Our membership in PSI has provided us with an important school-wide focus, bringing together staff and students towards a common goal. In the beginning, we undertook initiatives within our school to promote a culture of peace. PSI newsletters, emails and their website gave us an abundance of ideas and sparked our own thinking. As a school, we held assemblies, created peace books and poems, made Kites for Peace, adopted a school mascot (Harmony, the Good Gorilla), acknowledged acts of kindness on a daily basis, had “Hand-Off/Peace On” weeks, created a large Peace Mural and performed a school show based on “making a difference”. We knew our efforts were producing results when we overheard a student reminding a new Kingslake student that, “We don’t do that at Kingslake. We’re a peaceful school.” It has provided teachers with a common language when discussing behaviour and expectations. We have also been able to incorporate our school board’s Character Education goals into our peaceful school initiatives. It has provided a meaningful way to teach many of the character traits, as well as curriculum expectations in Literacy and Social Studies.
Inspired by PSI’s worldwide focus, for the last few years we have worked on helping the students look beyond our school community. One year we purchased 5 wells for families in Cambodia. As a result of our connection with PSI, we adopted a twin school in Sierra Leone. For the last couple of years, each class has written letters and sent pictures via the internet to classes at the Mayagba Primary School in Sierra Leone. The letters and pictures enabled the students to discuss the similarities and differences between students in both countries. It was wonderful for students to see a Mayagba teacher reading Mem Fox’s Whoever You Are, a book their teacher had read to them. As a Kingslake school community, we have purchased goats, school supplies, sports equipment and sent teachers for training. We have had visits from PSI representatives, who made presentations to our students. This has made our connection with PSI very special and meaningful for our students and our staff.
We feel very strongly that our connection to and the support received from Peaceful Schools International has made a significant and invaluable difference at Kingslake.