Peace, The Real Peace

I talk about peace often in my classroom.  Well, that’s partially true.  When children talk about peace, I jump right in. They have a lot to say. We adults should listen more.

Years ago, when I first had the the good sense to listen to children, it struck me to paint a peace dove in our parking lot, right in front of the entrance to school.  Janine, an artist and parent of Juliet (Starry Night post) and Audrey, was happy to do the job.  Since then, she has returned many times to repaint this simple, beautiful bird.  It has become a symbol to welcome all the families and visitors who come into our school.  Crossing the threshold of peace.

Peace is really very simple.  Children know.  When asked, “What is peace?”, they pause, and pull an answer from their soul.  I think the soul is a heart that has lived.  “My new baby sister, dancing, dinner with my family”… true peace.  That’s what children say.

It took me a while in my teaching to let go of the structure of teaching peace.  I remember interviewing children when we were sitting under a Peace Portal that we had made in the classroom.

I asked, “How does peace make you feel?”

Colin answered, “It makes me feel hearty.”

“Oh… it makes you feel strong?”

“No, Jennie.  It makes me feel heart-y.”  Then he patted his heart.

Oh my goodness!

Colin answered with a why-are-you-asking, and a don’t-you-already-know, mindset.  He was right; I did know.  I was teaching peace as part of my curriculum.  I realized that peace is learned by doing.  I had to set the stage, be a role model, stop and talk at all the little and big things that happened in the classroom, read plenty of books aloud that open the door for both goodness and evil- oh, the conversations we have are pretty intense; from fairy tales to the more subtle, like Templeton the rat in “Charlotte’s Web”.  I made sure children felt comfortable saying what they thought and asking questions.

I was right.  It made a difference.  Thereafter, peace became something  real.  Now, peace in my classroom is something children just understand.  Talking about it, or making a book, or designing a quilt happens as a reflection of what they already know and feel.


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.
This entry was posted in Early Education, Inspiration, Kindness, Peace, Teaching young children and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

95 Responses to Peace, The Real Peace

  1. So important to spread peace in this world and as always, you’re doing a great job of it!

  2. Ritu says:

    Love this Jennie! Peace is so important!

  3. John Kraft says:

    A wonderful posting.

    Thank you.

    May I repost this?

  4. Aw, Colin described peace so well — hearty! Love this post and the dove on the parking lot. We never can have too much peace. xo

  5. beetleypete says:

    We need to listen to children more. Their thoughts are unencumbered by bitter experience, social rules, or preconceptions.
    Best wishes, Pete.

  6. Nilzeitung says:

    Sehr Stark !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (*L*) wow Very strong,,, young lutes have only made their eifon in mind great

  7. Out of the mouths… Bless them!

  8. Wonderful post, Jennie! I love Colin’s description! And the dove is a beautiful welcome to your school! 😄

  9. John Fioravanti says:

    Great article, Jennie! I became a better teacher when I started listening to my students and then learned from them. They taught me that learning is a two-way street.

  10. iArtichokeu says:

    Loved this! It’s so true.

  11. frenchc1955 says:

    What a beautiful post this is!

  12. frenchc1955 says:

    Reblogged this on charles french words reading and writing and commented:
    Another wonderful post on teaching and learning from children by Jennie.

  13. Thank you for this post. It is inspirational. It deserves attention. I have shared the link to it to my Twitter feed and Facebook pages.

  14. ren.again says:

    Those wonderful, innocent children are the true teachers of us all. They know that the life of fairy tales is how life is truly meant to be lived.
    Love the dove!
    Great post and lesson!

  15. Young children are so delightfully accepting of each other. The concept of world peace also makes me feel “hearty”.

  16. This post made me feel very hearty too. I wish we could clone you or even send you back in time.

  17. And so YOU have solved the puzzle of how to achieve peace in the Middle East….Let the children negotiate…

  18. Dan Antion says:

    In thinking about teachers, I think the best thing that I read was: “I made sure children felt comfortable saying what they thought and asking questions.”

  19. Reblogged this on Notes from An Alien and commented:
    Extremely insightful and ponderable re-blog today…

  20. daboogieblog says:

    Thank you for sharing this beautiful experience!

  21. Tina Frisco says:

    Brilliant, Jennie. I wish we could put this post on billboards around the world ~ a newsreel. Out of the mouths of babes … ♥

  22. reocochran says:

    This is so meaningful to those children and you, too.
    Open communication is a part of your gentle teaching atmosphere.
    The painting of the Peace dove is such a great addition to your school. 🕊

  23. Norah says:

    Perfect peace. This is lovely, Jennie. We can learn much from the wisdom of little children if we but listen.

  24. Jennie, this was a beautiful post.. Children are often much wiser than we ever give them credit for.. And I loved the answers given.. And what a wonderful symbol to paint as a welcome right in front of your school.. A beautiful message laid there for all to see, every day..
    May we continue to teach Peace.. and find it in those moments of solitude and quiet.. As well as in the laughter and joy of others.
    Blessings dear Jennie.. I wish I had had you as a teacher when I was a child 🙂
    Love and Blessings
    Sue ❤

  25. Pingback: A Teacher and Her Peace – Peace on Earth

  26. Di says:

    So beautiful to learn about how you manage the topic of Peace and what the children think of it, Jennie.
    Another wonderful post thank you 💐💕

  27. Oh how wonderful, Jennie! This post blew me away. Kids are so full of wisdom…I think in part because they keep things simple ❤ and speak from their heart.

    If you'd like, I'd be honored for you to contribute this post to Forgiving Fridays. As you may know, it's a creative prompt where I encourage readers to share about forgiveness however that lines up for them…. and Lord knows, peace certainly relates! Anyway if you'd like to do this, just add #ForgivingFridays as one of your tags and include a pingback to my most recent post (

    Jennie, sending you many blessings. Thank you for keeping so much love in the classroom, and beyond.

  28. L. Marie says:

    How lovely that the symbol of peace is close by. What a great idea. And I loved how the children taught you the nature of peace. 🙂

  29. Wonderful, Jennie. I love how thoughtful your lessons are and how you pay attention and integrate everything into the children’s world and experience. Have a heart-y day. 🙂

  30. When it comes to peace and love, kids can teach adults a lot more than we can teach them. Lovely post.

  31. Hayley says:

    This is so heartwarming, Jennie. I too have the pleasure of teaching (and being taught) all about peace with young souls. I feel we are very lucky indeed. I love your sentence here: ‘I think the soul is a heart that has lived.’ Beautiful xx

  32. Pingback: Today’s Forgiving Fridays: Walking My Own Talk! – ForgivingConnects

  33. Rhianna says:

    I like this. Also, I’m sure you’ve created a safe haven for some of those children that if they can’t get stimulating conversation like this at home – or a listening ear – this can be achieved with you at school. I bet you’re most of their favourite teacher!

  34. daylene2016 says:

    Reblogged this on The Perpetual Preschool and commented:
    “Peace is learned by doing.” Thank you Jennie for reminding us that we need to be role models for peace.

  35. daylene2016 says:

    “Peace is learned by doing.” Thank you Jennie for reminding us that we need to be role models for peace. May I repost this on my site, The Perpetual Preschool?


  36. Pingback: Peace, The Real Peace — A Teacher's Reflections

  37. Pingback: Peace, The Real Peace — A Teacher's Reflections

  38. Pingback: Today’s Forgiving Fridays: Acceptance and a Surprise! – ForgivingConnects

  39. Pingback: Peace, The Real Peace | A Teacher’s Reflections – Aspen Tree Book Reviews

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