Peace Education at Kingslake P.S.

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.

snow peace symbol at Kingslake schoolOur 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.

Continue reading “Peace Education at Kingslake P.S.”

Dr. George Johnson School

*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.

Continue reading “Dr. George Johnson School”

The School that Peace Built: Peaceful Schools Initiatives at Leary

**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.

Continue reading “The School that Peace Built: Peaceful Schools Initiatives at Leary”

The high price of bullying in the US

By Cat Koo
BBC News
25 October 2010

Read the full article online, BBC News

A global report on school violence identifies bullying as the biggest problem in US school playgrounds.

Slut. Fat. Gay. Those are some common words – weapons – America’s youth uses to target each other in bullying.

A global report released on Monday by children’s development organisation Plan International gauges the economic impact of school violence, which it categorised as corporal punishment, sexual abuse and bullying.

The US pays a high price for its youth violence, both in and out of schools. Plan estimated the total cost of all forms of youth violence at $158bn (£100bn).

Pervasive problem

At schools around the world, the playground is far from the innocent haven where the ring of a school bell signals the start of children’s laughter.

Instead, for too many, it becomes an ugly arena where spectators can watch youngsters pit themselves against each other.

Some 20% to 65% of children worldwide say they suffer from bullying, but that proportion may be higher because school violence is "notoriously under-reported", the report says.

In the US, around a fifth of high school students said they experienced repeated, intentional bullying, according to data collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

"Younger kids are more likely to be bullied and prevalence tends to be higher in middle school," said Marci Hertz, an adviser at CDC’s Division of Adolescent and School Health.

Bullying also tends to be higher among girls, she says.

"It seems to be a very pervasive problem."

Indeed, the prevalence of bullying is so high that CDC treats it as a public health issue.

"As a result of being bullied, you don’t attend school, you’re losing the opportunity to learn," says Julie Hertzog, director of the National Center for Bullying Prevention run by the Pacer children’s organisation.

One way that Plan calculated the cost of school violence was to look at the potential income a person lost because of missed schooling.

Continue reading “The high price of bullying in the US”

Gilmore school raises peace flag

Burnaby NewsLeader
September 23, 2010

Gilmore peace flagOn Tuesday afternoon at Gilmore Community School, which has been undergoing major seismic upgrades the last couple years, there was a moment of peace–in more ways than one.

The roofers’ constantly rumbling asphalt machines fell silent for a few minutes as the entire school celebrated its commitment to being a positive, peaceful school with the raising of a special flag.

The flag marks Gilmore’s membership into Peaceful Schools International (PSI), which provides support and resources to schools wanting to educate students on peace.

Continue reading “Gilmore school raises peace flag”

Mount Saint Vincent joins PSI organization

Peaceful Schools International is a non-profit group to support schools that create ‘cultures of peace’

September 22, 2010

soft cialis MSVU flag raising

A flag with the image of three figures holding up the world is now hoisted outside of Mount Saint Vincent University.

In a fitting activity on the UN’s International Day of Peace, the Mount was made a member of Peaceful Schools International (PSI) yesterday.

Continue reading “Mount Saint Vincent joins PSI organization”

Share your peace education activity ideas!

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 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!

Peaceful Schools International celebrates International Day of Peace


For Immediate Release
September 21, 2010
Halifax, NS

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)

Premiere Screening of the film “PEACE ONE DAY”

What: Film Screening of Peace One Day
When: 7 pm, Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Where: Room 160, Sobey Building, Saint Mary’s University, Halifax, NS.

Help us celebrate International Day of Peace (September 21) with a  free public premiere screening to mark International Peace Day. "Peace One Day" charts the remarkable 10-year journey of award-winning filmmaker Jeremy Gilley to establish an annual Peace Day on 21 September. The camera follows Jeremy as he galvanises the countries of the world to recognise an official day of ceasefire and non-violence. The film screening will be followed by a discussion of peace initiatives in Nova Scotia.

Sponsored by the Halifax Peace Coalition, Peaceful Schools International, the Nova Scotia Voice of Women for Peace and Saint Mary’s University. For more information, please visit:

Moving forward on peace education in Nova Scotia – meeting

What: meeting of those interested/engaged in peace education in Nova Scotia – all welcome!
When: 1:30 – 3:30 pm, Monday, September 20, 2010
Where: Room 404, Seton Building, Mount Saint Vincent University
In July 2010, Peaceful Schools International, Mount Saint Vincent University, and 10 other peace partners organzied a peace conference, Being the Change: Building a Culture of Peace (see for more information about the conference). As a follow up to this conference, Peaceful Schools International would like to invite you to a meeting on Monday, September 20, 1:30-3:30 pm, Room 404 Seton Building, Mount Saint Vincent University to discuss next steps on the following:
* Creating a forum for networking for organizations and individuals who do work connected to peace education, inclusion, social and emotional learning, anti-bullying, social justice, and other related topics.
* Developing a collaborative dialogue with the Ministry of Education about peace education in Nova Scotia schools and how existing organizations can better support and enhance work already being done.
* Creating (or adding to an existing source) and disseminating a ‘menu’ of available community programming that can enhance existing efforts to promote peace and inclusion in schools by the Ministry of Education, school boards and individual schools.
If you are not able to attend but would like to be kept updated on the outcomes and any future meetings, please let me know (Clare Levin,, 902-220-2635).