An interview with Nadeem Ghazi, PSI Regional Coordinator in Pakistan:
For the month of June Peaceful Schools International encouraged its member schools to share some of the activities that were done in their schools to help maintain a Culture of Peace all year long! Here is an example:
A Safe and Caring Amalgamated Academy
School today is much more than reading, writing and arithmetic and the Safe and Caring School Committee of Amalgamated Academy is ensuring that this is the case. Character development is such an important aspect of school life and events that help shape this are the ones that you will remember in the years to come. Many events have been held at Amalgamated over this school year. For example, we have had our Anti-bullying Stand Up Assembly, a Grade 9 Job Shadowing Day and a Newfoundland Cultural Day where we were joined by musicians Jim Payne and Fergus O’Byrne. On-going is also our Roots of Empathy program in Ms. Ryan’s Grade 4 class. Just recently the Safe and Caring student committee held a Good News Café at the Pentecostal Seniors Home in Clarke’s Beach, where the students put off a concert complete with singing, guitars, violin, accordion, piano, poetry and food (of course). In the weeks to come we have RMCP officer John Clarke coming in to present to the Grade 8 and 9 students on Internet Safety and he will be back again the following month to present on Drug and Alcohol Awareness. As well, in the near future we have two community members coming into the school to speak to our students about their upcoming Nicaragua visit. This is just a small sample of the many events that are occurring at our busy school. If you are interested in joining Amalgamated’s Safe and caring committee, feel free to contact the school at any time.
PSI Video Contest Winners Announced!
In the spring of 2012, PSI held a video contest inviting member schools to tell us in a video why their school is a peaceful school (see the poster below). Thank-you to each member school who participated in the video contest! Each video was so creative which made the task of selecting a winner for each category very, very difficult.
Please click on the links below to see our contest winners and see what makes their schools a peaceful school!
Age 5-12 Category Winner: Riverview Elementary School from Verdun, Quebec
Age 13-17 Category Winner: Mapaki Jr. Secondary School from Bombali District, Sierra Leone
At exactly 12:00 NOON On Thursday, January 20th, the staff and student population of Lake of Two Mountains High School were assembled right outside the front entrance of the school, at the base of the two flagpoles, already bearing the Canadian and Quebec flags. The reason was to commemorate the addition of a third.
This one was furnished by “Peaceful Schools International”, a non-profit organization, dedicated to the banishment of aggression and intimidation from the playgrounds, halls, and classrooms of schools everywhere.
Submitted by Lisa Abreu, Richland Academy
Silence was heard throughout Richland Academy on Thursday, November 18th, as students, staff and faculty participated in their second Vow of Silence event, supporting children’s well-being worldwide. Each year, youth around the world “pledge to stay silent for up to 24 hours to support children who are silenced by the denial of their basic rights.” In honour of the Vow of Silence, each student created their own unique beaded bracelet, worn throughout the week in support of children around the world. During the hour of silence, students worked in complete silence with no speaking, no emailing, and no note-writing. Students expressed that the Vow of Silence was important because it gave them the chance to see what it was like for the children who do not have the right to speak up for themselves. The reality is, many children around the world do not have a voice to speak their ideas, thoughts and opinions. The Vow of Silence is a Free The Children initiative that is “meant to attract as much attention as possible to raise awareness and create real social change”. Richland is proud to support such a worthy cause that develops students’ awareness and understanding of the unfair conditions by which other children may live. As member of Peaceful Schools International, Richland will continue to build awareness about the lives of other children around the world.
View some images of Richland’s Vow of Silence Day:
Vow of Silence: A Moment of Silence for a Worthy Cause from Richland Academy on Vimeo.
Thank you to Melissa our ‘Marketing & Events’ Faculty Member and Felicia ‘Creative Design & Technology’ Faculty Member for creating these pieces for us.
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.
*Thanks to Principal Jim Gibbs at Dr. George Johnson School for submitting this testimonial!*
| Peer mediators at
Dr. George Johnson School
In the spring of 2006, Dr. George Johnson School in Gimli, Manitoba, Canada, received recognition as a member of PSI through our efforts to meet the PSI membership criteria. The PSI membership flag is now proudly displayed in our school gymnasium and many of the initiatives undertaken during the school year of 2005-06 are still present at our school.
I became principal of Dr. George Johnson School in the fall of 2005. At that time, the school was a recently designated middle school. There was concern from staff and parents, that the school had too many students being suspended from school, and lacked a sense of identity. I heard of PSI from another school in our district (Arborg Early Middle School) who was a member school and then sought out information from PSI’s web site to support our school reform initiative. As per PSI suggestions, we formed a school based team consisting of staff, students and parents, surveyed our staff, students and parents, and collected reams of data about behavior and student activities.
Specifically, we used the following criteria – much of which was taken from PSI support materials – to evaluate our school environment:
- Strong, visionary leadership
- Collaborative approach to school-based decision making
- Clearly establish rules and expectations
- Community Service Projects
- Peace Education Initiatives
- Treating students according to their needs
- Lots of extra-curricular activities
- Introduction of peer mediation
- Opportunities for student leadership
- Professional development for staff
Led by this roadmap, and other PSI resources, the school has undergone a dramatic and positive transformation over the following 5 years. Don’t take my word for it however, the chart below was produced by our local Interlake Regional Health Authority based upon surveys conducted with students in 2005 and 2009 – covering the period before and well after our PSI partnership.
**This is the first in a series of stories and testimonials from PSI member schools about the impact we are having around the world. Stay tuned here for new stories as they are released! If you are interested in submitting a testimonial, please contact us.**
Leary’s Brook Junior High School, in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, has been a member of Peaceful Schools International since April 2002. This time in our school history proved to be quite a challenge for the Leary’s Brook school community as it saw school reform move from a denominational school system to neighbourhood schools. The year prior to its inaugural membership in PSI, Leary’s Brook received students from 14 separate feeder schools. Building community was key to the school’s success, and membership in PSI proved to be the catalyst for the school in establishing an ethos of collaboration, caring and respect for all.
It was apparent in reviewing the membership criteria for PSI that this organization already had a vision for schools which was right in line with what we aspired to be. The decision to embark upon the Peaceful Schools journey was our next step forward.
Every month, PSI sends an idea for a peace education activity to all of its member schools. Members tell us that these activities help them maintain the climate of peace in their schools.
If you have a great idea for a peace education classroom activity, send it to PSI, and your activity could be featured as the next PSI monthly idea! Please send your activity ideas to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. If your activity is chosen, you will receive a FREE copy of “Creating Caring Schools”, written by Hetty van Gurp
We look forward to hearing from you!
For Immediate Release
September 21, 2010
HALIFAX – On Tuesday, September 21, 2010, Peaceful Schools International, a non-profit and charitable organization dedicated to helping schools create a climate of peace, will celebrate International Day of Peace, along with a number of other organizations from the Halifax area.
Peaceful Schools International (PSI) believes that all children have the right to be safe at school. Since opening its doors in 2001, PSI has grown to over 300 member schools in 16 countries around the world, and is an innovative and respected source of peace education ideas and support internationally and right here in Canada. Our member schools experience significant improvements in the atmosphere and culture of their school when they embrace PSI’s principles and teachings around peace.
“We know that educating for peace is essential,” says Executive Director Clare Levin. “Teaching peace in all of our schools should be as important as teaching reading and writing and mathematics. By learning to live peacefully together in our classrooms and our communities, our youth will be better equipped to bring peace to the world. September 21 is a great opportunity each year for schools to commit to learning about and teaching peace.”
This year, to celebrate the International Day of Peace, PSI is joining with Halifax Peace Coalition, the Nova Scotia Voice of Women for Peace and Saint Mary’s University to host a premiere screening of the film Peace One Day, about one man’s efforts to establish an official day of ceasefire and non-violence. The film screening will be followed by a discussion of peace initiatives in Nova Scotia. The film screening takes place at 7 pm on Tuesday, September 21, in Room 160 of the Sobey Building.
The International Day of Peace, established by a United Nations resolution in 1981, was first celebrated on the third Tuesday of September 1982. Beginning in 2002, the UN General Assembly set September 21 as the permanent date for the International Day of Peace.
Read the release in PDF: PSI Celebrates International Day of Peace
Clare Levin, Executive Director
Peaceful Schools International
1-866-532-0228 (toll free) or 1-902-220-2635 (Halifax)