Oftentimes, we receive great resources from schools. Here is a plan developed by two teachers at St. Columbkille Partnership School in Brighton, MA.
Created by Margaret Betts (Grade 2) and Anne Krane (PreK), St. Columbkille Partnership School, Brighton, MA
Violence in schools and in neighborhoods in our country has been a constant conversation, and we have been looking for something we can do to help teachers, families, and students feel a little less helpless and a little more empowered. This can be especially challenging in the early childhood, elementary, and middle school levels. We want our schools to feel safe. This plan centers around a prayer service planned for March 14th of this year. Our hope is that this plan would minimally interrupt the routine, meet students at an appropriate level and still have a positive impact on our community. Early childhood would focus on peace as a self management skill, elementary ages would focus on peace and activism, and middle school would focus on peace and nonviolence.
The plan in its entirety can be found here, but there are four major parts to the St. Columbkille Peace Plan!
All grades: Pieces of Peace - Students will each be given a large puzzle piece to take home over the weekend. These will be filled out by families and returned to school the following Monday and Tuesday. Along with the puzzle pieces will be a description of the events and activities leading to Wednesday, March 14th, so families are informed. These peace pieces will be collected and formed into large peace sign posters to be hung on each level of the school. (We will send this template to you when it is ready!)
All grades: Peace Project - Each grade will do one short activity that focuses around peace on Monday 3/12 or Tuesday 3/13 in their classrooms. It could be a book, a short movie clip, a writing project, a prayer. A few ideas are provided to give inspiration, but if you need more help or a more concrete plan, please let us know and we are happy to help out!
All grades, staff, families, friends of school: Posts for Peace - All will be invited to participate in posting pictures, videos, photos, poems, quotes, songs etc. on our social media, or their own social media on 3/14. Using the hashtag #stcps4peace and #postsforpeace . Anyone is invited to post something that they feel will inspire others towards peace. (How do you work, sing, share, inspire for peace?)
All grades: Peace Prayer Service - Students will participate in a 17 minute long prayer service on March 14th at 10 AM.
In the spirit of Catholic community building and collaboration within the Archdiocese of Boston, we've attached the full plan here in hopes that you may share it with other schools whose teachers may be looking for a resource or a way to address the violence with a Catholic foundation at the early childhood, elementary, and middle school levels.
Today's resource (hat-tip to the CSO's Livia Ramos for bringing this one to light): an article on the importance of empathy in the classroom. Especially in light of recent tragedies, this is the perfect time during this Lenten season to recenter ourselves and focus on empathy with our students. One key quotation from this article: "There is no paint-by-number approach to developing and practicing empathy as a basis for living, working, and decision making in our varied schools. Still, there are outcomes that we might expect as focus shifts. Among other expectations, it is reasonable to assume that understanding, appreciating, and addressing people's feelings, needs, and perspectives could lead to more opportunities for teachers to share successes and concerns with colleagues and leaders; more collaborative relationships between teachers and parents; greater student voice; fewer incidences of bullying; and a curriculum and instructional style that foster a love for learning." I would add, our Catholic mission and educational vocation calls us to engage in this kind of empathy with our students every day.
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