Creating Caring Schools

Creating Caring Schools Activity book inspires peace

Carolyn Sloan
September 18, 2007

Seven years after establishing Peaceful Schools International, founder Hetty viagra super active van Gurp has created an activity guide to promote a caring and peaceful culture at school.

The book, entitled Creating Caring Schools: Peace-promoting activities for all seasons, is a collection of activity ideas that she has previously distributed to PSI schools over the years, together with additional input from schools that have embellished on its themes.

Best of all, the guide offers practical ideas that require few resources beyond the enthusiasm and creativity of students and faculty. The activities can be implemented school-wide with kids of different ages, and often involve parents and surrounding community as well.

While the activities can be helpful, it is up to each school to come up with their own approach to creating and maintaining a culture of peace, van Gurp maintains. Every school is different, she says, and will need to find what works best for them.

“I’ve always believed it to be a very important part of PSI that it is non-prescriptive,” van Gurp explains. “We provide support and encouragement, but not the recipe. They have to come up with their own recipe.”

From Gossip-Free Day, to Harmony Month and Say Boo to Bullying, Creating Caring Schools contains activity suggestions for every month of the school year that inspire peace through creative avenues. While many of the interactive ideas are geared toward promoting kindness to fellow students, they also engage students in learning about other cultures around the world. The global focus is key in helping kids develop a respect for diversity and sense of empathy for those less fortunate, says van Gurp.

“Really across Canada we’re all so privledged,” she explains. “Learning about people who are less privledged is a valuable way to develop empathy in children.”

Another helpful suggestion is for students to make pledges of peace and kindness to others. In some cases, says van Gurp, schools have come up with their own pledges which are recited at assemblies as a way to foster pride and as a reminder of their commitment to peace.

“Pledges don’t come with any kind of guarantees,” she explains, “[but] if it’s done with sincerity and integrity, I think it is meaningful. Developing one’s own pledge is very important.”

For van Gurp, peace at school means providing students with a safe environment.

“For me personally,” she says, “peace is an absence of fear. It can be fear of agresion from someone else. It can be fear of emotional abuse, fear of embarrassment or humiliation, or being put on the spot.

“Kids go to school with sort of a knot in their stomach, worried ‘What’s going to go wrong today?’ I believe we have a responsibility to do whatever we can to ensure children an environment free from fear.”

For more information about Peaceful Schools International or to purchase Creating Caring Schools, visit

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