International Day of Peace

When I was in the library last week, I saw they had a display of peace books to recognize International Day of Peace.  To my surprise, one of my classroom books was included in the display.



Today is the day.  It is International Day of Peace.  My journey to peace with children is a good story, and the travels along that pathway have been far more meaningful than I imagined.  Peace.  The title on the library book says “quilt”, because my class designed an authentic Peace Quilt.  That quilt is my blog photo!  But, let’s start at the beginning, as it is a really good story.  And all my stories begin with,

“It happened like this…”

Peace was the theme in my school years ago, and children embraced it with acts of kindness for others.  During that school year my husband and I attended a wedding in Philadelphia.  With a few hours to spare we toured the historic district to see Carpenter’s Hall.  Ten minutes before the 5:00 closing we dashed across the street  to the National Liberty Museum.  I was thunderstruck by their magnificent Peace Portal in the lobby, a canopy of stained glass above intricately carved wrought iron columns.

I just knew.  This was “it”, something my classroom could make.  We had celebrated peace… yet this was different, much more meaningful.

Back at school we recreated the peace portal on top of our loft.  Tubes to hold rolled carpeting became the four posts.  Each child decorated a velum sheet with colored tissue paper, and we connected all the art to hang above our peace portal.  Tiny white lights over the canopy was the finish.  It was beautiful.

I never expected what happened next.  Children wanted to be there, just sit and be.  So, I decided to interview each child when they were under the peace portal and simply ask them what peace was.  The answers were so profound we made a book.

Colin told me, “Peace makes me feel hearty.”  I said, “Oh, it makes you feel strong.”  Colin looked at me like I had three heads, patted his heart with his hand and said, “No, heart-y.”


The following year I visited the Bennington Musuem in Bennington, VT to see their Grandma Moses collection.  When I walked in, there was a display of Haitian quilts.  They were the most beautiful quilts I had ever seen- murals, works of art.  Again, I just knewThis was something my class could do.  This was important.

We could make a peace quilt.  And yes, we did.

I met Milly, a master quilter.  She was the magician and lover of children who transformed their design into a work of art.  And, it became a magnificent quilt that hangs in the museum in Philadelphia.

That is the story behind the book at the library.  It is a book of poems about peace, based on the experiences of making the quilt.  After all, making a peace quilt is incredible.  Writing a book about it is only natural.

Here’s the point- peace is about the heart, thinking and doing the right thing. The little things are the most important of all, because they’re the foundation for the big things.  By teaching children’s heart they come to understand peace.



About Jennie

I have been teaching preschool for over thirty years. This is my passion. I believe that children have a voice, and that is the catalyst to enhance or even change the learning experience. Emergent curriculum opens young minds. It's the little things that happen in the classroom that are most important and exciting. That's what I write about. I am highlighted in the the new edition of Jim Trelease's bestselling book, "The Read-Aloud Handbook" because of my reading to children. My class has designed quilts that hang as permanent displays at both the National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia, and the Fisher House at the Boston VA Hospital.
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25 Responses to International Day of Peace

  1. frenchc1955 says:

    Thank you for a wonderful post!

  2. My heart is full with love and faith in human nature after reading this post. In fact, your posts always engender strong emotions in me!

  3. It begins with teaching children to be peaceful. You are doing good work. I read this before coming here. Same theme for today. Let the peace begin with me.

  4. Pingback: International Day of Peace — A Teacher’s Reflections – Teacher's Lounge

  5. It looks as if we have Marlene, a mutual friend to thank for our uniting together today. I so loved this post and what you and your pupils have created. What a great privilege to work with such young children and I see from all you are teaching what a great teacher you are Jennie.
    I hope to be back to read lots more, you will have to be patient with me though 🙂 But I promise I do catch up eventually..
    Wonderful to meet you..
    Love and Light..

  6. Pingback: Friday Five!

  7. A Peace quilt. Superb! What an amazing accomplishment for you and the children!

    • jlfatgcs says:

      Thank you! We are halfway through another major quilt, which we started last year. Milly the quilter is a Santa with children, and a magician with taking their ideas, including every word and piece of fabric, and transforming it into a quilt. Yes, it takes a year or more, but the bonds that she creates along the way with children are priceless. This new quilt, when finished, will hang in the State House in Boston. Wow. Stay tuned for quilting stories as they happen.

  8. This is such a reminder that we should always choose peace because we are all capable of making peace on anything.

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