International Day of Peace

Imagine all the people living life in peace. – John Lennon
Each year on September 21, the International Day of Peace is observed around the world. This year’s theme is “Partnerships for Peace – Dignity for All”.  Such a celebration reminds us of the value in quietude and tranquility, and it provides us with a perfect opportunity to find peace within ourselves and to share peace with others. How can we partner up and do this with our children? Here are some meaningful, yet simple, ways to become active in discovering the dimensions of peace and peace building from a local and global perspective:
1childExplore a Natural Setting – Perhaps you and your child can start the day with a peaceful walk in a natural setting. You can sit quietly, meditate and reflect, or just listen to the sounds in nature. If a natural setting is inaccessible, then include yoga exercises, sing a song, or recite a poem about peace during circle time.
Share in an Arts & Crafts Project – Encourage your child to create a picture or a poster that represents the meaning of peace. The artwork could include decorated doves, an olive branch, a peace sign, or hands that are held together. Include peaceful music in the background during the project.
Create a Banner or Mural – The mural or banner could portray images and/or words showing what peace represents. It could even include a personal phrase or poetry composition about peace. When it is finished, hang the artful expression in your child’s bedroom or in your classroom.
Discuss Diversity & Cultural Awareness – You might like to discuss the diversity of different people within your family or community, and then make comparisons of this diversity to people around the world. Help your child gain a healthy perspective on the differences, yet focus more on the similarities we share with others.
Play Games – Incorporate non-competitive or cooperative games in your day.
1dalailama_1Learn About World Leaders of Peace – Talk about leaders of peace, integrate stories, and have your child think about ways to contribute to peaceful relations among people. Make a plan to do something for someone else that would bring peace to their heart and peace to their minds.

Most importantly, inspire your children with peace.

Think it. Say it. Do it.


Springtime Storybooks and Expressive Activities

In Like a Lion, Out Like a Lamb

by Lorie Hill

March roars in like a lion

So fierce,

The wind so cold,

It seems to pierce.

The month rolls on

And spring draws near,

And March goes out

Like a lamb so dear.

Have you ever heard the saying, “March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb?” This expression describes the winds that often blow in late winter and early spring. In addition to your circle time activities, your children might find it enjoyable to roar like a lion of wind, and then be like a breeze that blows as gentle as a lamb.
You could also include the following finger play activity:

Five little children one March day (hold up five fingers)

Went for a walk just this way. (march in place)

The wind blew hard and the wind blew strong (wave arms above head)

As the five little children marched along. (march in place)

It turned those children around in the street (twirl around)

Then it blew each one right off their feet! (tumble down)

ArrivalOfSpring-smAsk your children how the weather changes in spring. In my area, spring weather usually means windy days and lots of rain showers. The rain brings flowers into bloom, so we start looking for the new shoots of green. The breezy days are the best for a highflying kite, too! Ah, as I look at the window to a foot of snow on the ground, I can already imagine the smell of fresh spring air and feel the warmth from the sun. After a long winter, it’s refreshing and rejuvenating imagery!

Below you will find a thematic early elementary book list for spring. Most of these books may be found at your local public library. You can even turn it into a treasure hunt as your children try to search for the titles to these books on the shelves.
Waiting-For-Spring Stories by Bethany Roberts
Dandelion Adventures by L. Patricia Kite
It’s Spring! by Linda Glaser
My Spring Robin by Anne Rockwell
Spring is Here by Lois Lenski
The Seasons of Arnold’s Apple Tree by Gail Gibbons
The Spring Equinox by Ellen Jackson
“The Sun and the WInd” – an Aesop’s Fable
Story of the Root Children by Sibylie Von Olfers
The Sun Egg by Elsa Beskow
Ollie's ski tripFor those of you who are still encountering the more wintry side of spring, I highly recommend reading Elsa Beskow’s book, Ollie’s Ski Trip. It’s a delightful and imaginative picture book that involves Jack Frost, King Winter, Mrs. Thaw and Lady Spring. It’s a story that will be enjoyed by all!
Last but not least, in honor of the famous children’s writer and illustrator, Dr. Seuss, who was born on March 2, 1904, there must be made mention of the Dr. Seuss/Cat in the Hat color plus stencil book, Oh, the Things Spring Bring! Yes! May we all relish in the thoughts of the things that spring will bring!