Youth Centre in St Nicolas, Quebec
Level: nursery school, primary school, secondary school
The Azymut Est*Ouest Youth Centre in Saint-Nicolas, Quebec, Canada has produced a Training handbook for peaceful behaviour. They have carried out an experiment for the promotion of awareness of peaceful behaviour involving primary and secondary school pupils in Quebec, Canada. Richard Proux, in charge of the Ambassadors of Peace programme kindly sent us this article which contains a practical conflict resolution method designed for schools.
The fact that older pupils are coming to primary schools to talk about peace affects the receptivity of primary school pupils. Since 1999, 200 ambassadors from 7 secondary schools promoted awareness in more than 12.000 primary school pupils.
By means of this programme, secondary school pupils (14 -17 years old) can be given training in education for peace and peaceful behaviour; subsequently, these young people, accompanied by a supervisor, become ambassadors of peace for the pupils of the primary schools in their area.
It also creates awareness on the part of the children of the various demonstrations of violence which surround them so as to help them recognise its different forms and acquire knowledge about non-violent conflict resolution strategies.
During 1999, several schools benefited from the Ambassadors of Peace Programme. In this context l’Ecole de la Source (Quebec, Canada) and the Paul - VI de St Apollinaire school in Quebec, Canada were visited twice by the ambassadors of peace. The first encounter took place on December 15 1999 and the second on March 27 in the same year. The second encounter turned out to be very important as the role-plays performed allowed the young pupils to learn some conflict resolution techniques. Also an evaluation of the programme by teachers highlighted the positive aspects of this workshop and provided a forum for their comments and suggestions such as the introduction of puppets symbolising peace.
One of the activities in this workshop was to have 5 - 7 year-old children make puppets. It is important to have the children understand that the puppets they are making symbolise peace. They can live and behave as inhabitants of this peaceful world they have imagined in a warm-up exercise in which they visualise a peaceful world.
These puppets can be very simple. All you need is a piece of paper or fabric to wrap around the finger. A basic face is drawn or painted on the tip of the finger thus bringing the puppet alive. A face can be drawn on a round piece of paper which is then stuck on to a piece of wood.
Give imagination a free reign. Creativity and simplicity often produce miraculous results !
An Example of An Education for Peace Activity
THE TALE OF THE WHITE RABBIT
The point of this allegorical tale is to convey messages through a story which will trigger changes in the attitudes of those who hear it. Throughout the story each animal that the little white rabbit meets gives him a pointer as to how to resolve conflict. The animals chosen to tell this tale are not important in themselves, what counts is the message they bring. Each country can adapt the tale using animals which are familiar or use animals with particular qualities. In Africa, for example, it might be preferable to use the antelope, the gazelle, the giraffe or the lion while in Australia the kangaroo or the koala may be more popular.
“I felt that the pupils were interested, they like the fact that the workshop is led by teenagers. The children participated very actively and really needed this workshop.”
4th year teacher at Lotbinière School
Education for Peace Activities spread over a period of 54 minutes for lst and 2nd year of Nursery School
- Equipment: 1 sheet of paper per child, felt tip pens, coloured pencils and wax crayons or pastels.
- Before the session when you are in the classroom give the teacher the evaluation form (cf appendix). Tell the teacher that you wish to have his/her comments and collect the form at the end of the session.
For nursery schools:
- Arrange the space to create an area for the tale and another for drawing.
The schedule for a session with 2nd year nursery school pupils
1. Introduction and thanks (2 minutes)
2. Tale of the Little Rabbit (12 minutes)
3. Feedback session (4 minutes)
4. Group reflection on living in peace (4 minutes)
5. Peaceful attitudes and behaviour (6 minutes)
6. Choosing resource people (4 minutes)
7. Drawing for a world at peace (15 minutes)
8. Feedback about the drawings (5 minutes)
9. Minute of peace (1 minute)
10. End of the session (1 minute)
1. Introduction and thanks (2 minutes)
2. The tale (12 minutes)
When telling the tale to an audience of 1st year infants divide the reading between the team of ambassadors as follows: narrator, the little rabbit, the other characters. For 2nd year infants, arrange with the teachers of year 5 or year 6 to have a few pupils come and read the parts of the little rabbit and other characters.
Invite the children to participate during the reading as follows: ‘Would you like to help me tell a story? Right, when I give you this sign (make rabbit ears with two fingers above your head) and whenever I say ‘the little white’, you say ‘rabbit’. Shall we try that now?..... the little white................. Listen carefully to what all the animals have to say because we will need your help to remember exactly what they said. Are you ready?
The little white rabbit who wanted to live in peace
Once upon a time, a long time ago, there was a mummy and a daddy rabbit who had lots of little baby rabbits of different colours, black ones, grey ones, red ones, brown ones, speckled ones and patchy ones. But among them there was one, the smallest, who was all white, white as snow, as white as the snow that gleams in the sun on a bright winter’s afternoon. This rabbit family lived with other families in a huge forest full of big green fir trees, magnificent cedars and beautiful birches where the birds could build their nests. The rabbit families built their houses under the branches of the cedars to shelter from the rain and the snow.
Sometimes the little white rabbit was left all alone by his brothers and sisters and even by his friends just because he was all white. Because he was a different colour, nobody wanted to play with him. He was alone, rejected. It made him very sad because he had no one to play with. Sometimes the others poked fun at the little white rabbit because he was smaller than all the others. They said nasty things to him. Words or things that hurt his little heart. When evening came and the sun gave way to the moon, the little white rabbit could not sleep because his brothers and sisters teased him. They nibbled his little ears, pinched his paws, slapped his back and tickled his little neck. The little white rabbit hated this. It hurt because he did not know what to do. He watched the shadows of animals wandering in the night and felt sad. He dreamt of living in harmony. He dreamt of a better life.
One morning the little white rabbit who was fed up with all this squabbling decided to go for a walk deep in the forest. While he was walking the little white rabbit hoped he would meet someone who could help him live in harmony and be free of his suffering and anger. After walking for a long time through the forest the little white rabbit walked past a fox’s lair. He knew that the fox was crafty so he decided to ask his advice (show the poster).
‘Hello Mr Fox. I am the little white rabbit and I want to live in peace. You’re crafty, could you tell me what I should do?’
After listening to the little white rabbit’s story the crafty Fox said to him :
‘I think it’s very good that you are trying to live in peace, to find solutions to the conflicts in your life. When I was young I wasn’t as crafty as I am today. Time has taught me to be calmer. Now when I am in a squabble, when somebody hurts me or doesn’t think the way I do, I breathe very deeply, I imagine a blue light around me, it helps me to regain my calm. When I am calm like that, I can speak without arguing to resolve the conflict.’
Happy with the advice he had been given on how to live in peace, the little white rabbit thanked the crafty Fox and went off into the forest. Smiling, the crafty Fox called after the little white rabbit:
‘Remember, you can take three deep breaths to keep calm. That will get rid of your suffering and your anger and will make you happier. You breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth, my little white friend.’
A little further on the little white rabbit met Mrs. Owl. He had already heard of her. The other animals in the forest said she was very gentle. He decided to ask her advice.
‘Hello, Mrs Owl! I am the little white rabbit and I want to live in peace. Could you give me some advice because I have heard you never squabble.’
‘Oh, you know, I do sometimes squabble. But I always try to solve the problem by talking to the other person. I take the time to understand what the problem between us is, to see how we feel, what we want to change or improve.
Together we find solutions to put an end to the squabble. Then we find the best solution, the one that suits us both best.’
‘And so that’s how you can live in peace?’
‘Yes, that’s it. Now you have a new clue about how to live in peace. Remember, you can talk to find solutions and you know it works! ’
The little white rabbit thanked Mrs. Owl and went on his way. He was happy he had learnt this new trick.
After a while he bumped into the young Lynx. This little wild cat was famous for being a good listener.
‘Hello, Mr. Lynx! I am the little white rabbit and I want to live in peace. Can you help me?’
The young Lynx looked at him and said :
‘With my Lynx eyes I can see things that are invisible. I know you are looking for ways to live in peace, so listen! In the past I kept things that bothered me inside; I was often angry and sad. I thought about no one but myself. Today, you see, I can say what I think, what I want and how I feel. On top of that, I ask others how they see things, what they want and what they feel in their hearts. In this way I can live in peace and so can the others. Now you know that it’s by considering yourself and others that you will avoid squabbles and be able to live in a happier world.’
The little white rabbit thanked the young Lynx and went home. When he was nearly home he met some of his friends who teased him, said nasty things to him, poked fun at him because he was little and a different colour to them. The little white rabbit took three deep breaths and imagined a blue light around him. Feeling calm, he headed for the youngest ones to have a word with them. He asked them why they were doing that and told them that what they said made him sad. He told them how he wanted to be treated too. Together they found a solution that they were all happy with. (For 2nd year pupils, ask what solutions they think they found. Tell them they can illustrate, draw or write the solution in the drawing activity if they wish). Once the conflict was settled, the little white rabbit went home.
He told his parents about his adventure and how he could remain calm by following Mr. Fox’s advice, how he could speak to settle arguments as Mrs. Owl had explained to him, how he could consider himself and others to live in peace as the young Lynx had suggested. His parents listened carefully and congratulated him before suggesting he went to bed. As his father tucked him in, he said that he could spend a little time every day thinking about what he could do in order to live in peace. That night the little white rabbit had wonderful dreams because he now lived in a world where there was a little more peace.
3.FEEDBACK SESSION (4 min.)
Ask the children what they understood from the story. (Take one answer per question only, add to it and simplify the answers, congratulating the children for listening so well).
Start by having them tell the story chronologically.
- Did you enjoy the story about the little white rabbit who wanted to live in peace?
- Who would like to tell me the story? .....Thank you!
- Now can you remember the animals he met?
That’s right, a crafty fox, an owl and a lynx.
- Do you remember the tricks the animals taught him?
(Show the animal posters as they explain).
Mr. Fox : Breathe deeply to calm down (Have them try the breathing and imagine the blue light round them).
Mrs. Owl : Speak to settle arguments.
Mr. lynx : Consider yourself and others in order to live in peace.
-What did his father say to him as he tucked him up in bed?
That in order to live in peace he could spend a little time every day thinking about what he could do to live in harmony.
Carry on with the questions, linking to what they feel around violent or peaceful behaviour.
4. GROUP REFLECTION ON LIVING IN PEACE (4 min.)
Objective : make the children aware of what they feel in the presence of violent or peaceful behaviour.
- How do you think the little rabbit feels when someone hurts him?
- How does he feel when someone speaks gently to him, when he is treated kindly?
- Do you think he prefers gentle hugs or fights?
- What do you think there is in a world of peace? What is there in a world where you feel good?
Move on to the questions about peaceful attitudes and behaviour.
5. PEACEFUL ATTITUDES AND BEHAVIOUR (6 min.)
Objective : Inform the children as to the peaceful attitudes and behaviour they can adopt.
What can you do to live in peace when someone is nasty to you?
1. You can take three deep breaths - in through your nose, out through your mouth - to help you calm down.
2. You can speak, say what you feel, you can say you don’t like it when people are nasty to you and ask them to stop. What exactly can you say? : ‘I don’t like it when you do that to me. Arms are meant to hug not push and shove.’
As you say this you are ASSERTING YOURSELF, in other words you say it directly and kindly. You say it because you respect your feelings and you express your way of seeing things calmly and kindly. ASSERTING YOURSELF means you respect yourself and say you want to live in peace. If you yell these words and push or hit the other person, does that mean you are asserting yourself? No. It means you are angry. You are being nasty to the other person then, you are not at peace, you are ANGRY, you are aggressive. And if you say nothing when someone is nasty to you, what are you doing? You are RUNNING AWAY, you are doing nothing, you are PASSIVE. You are behaving like the little rabbit at the beginning of the story : he said nothing when his brothers and sisters hurt him, he walked away. It is important to speak to stop violent behaviour.
So to help you live in peace, how should you behave? You run away, you get angry or you assert yourself? Yes, you assert yourself!
3. It is important to take the time to listen to the other person too, to understand how they feel and together you can find a solution that suits you both. To live in peace I respect myself and others.
4. You can use all these tricks at the same time for the same squabble.
6. CHOOSING RESOURCE PEOPLE (4 min.)
objective : Select resource people.
It is important to speak to someone who can help you when you are involved in a conflict or a violent situation, if someone hurts you, if you are sad or not at peace with others. You can talk to someone you trust, like your parents or a member of your family. So who do you trust? Tell me the name of an adult who can help you live in peace.
7. DRAWING FOR A WORLD OF PEACE (15 min.)
Objective : allow each pupil to express his or her vision of a world of peace.
Ask the children to create a drawing or a poem about peace . Exhibit the work for the rest of the school to see in classrooms, the gymnasium, corridors, the stairwell, office etc... When the exhibition is over the work could be sent to the peace ambassadors who visited you.
1. Each child sits at a table.
2. Hand out paper and pencils etc...
3. The children write their names in the bottom right-hand corner.
4. Make the children aware of the time (point out the hands on the clock). Remind the children 2 minutes before the end that the drawings will be collected in 2 minutes.
5. Once the drawings are finished they can be gathered to make a montage (collective work). The finished product provides an original overall vision.
6. While they are drawing, get the faster pupils to ‘enrich’ their drawings in the following way :
a) ask the child to tell you about his/her drawing;
b) ask the child about the possibilities that have not been drawn yet (eg. were there any houses in the background? or were you in the school playground?);
c) always allow the child to choose how to proceed.
8. FEEDBACK ABOUT THE DRAWINGS (5 min.)
Objective : Identify the positive consequences of living in a world of peace.
Wind up the feedback about the drawings: ‘ Hands up those who think it is important to live in a world of peace. Yes, it’s important for you too, so I wish you a life full of tranquillity and peace. ’
9. MINUTE OF PEACE (1 min.) - infants and 1st year 30 seconds.
‘ To finish, let’s share a minute of peace, a minute in which each of you can imagine a gesture of peace you can make today.’
‘Let’s begin the minute now..........;the minute is up.’
Ask the pupils which gestures of peace they will make today and invite them to spend one minute per day thinking about gestures of peace.
10. END OF SESSION (1 min.)
‘Thank you all for your participation. You too can be ambassadors of peace.’
‘Thank you and have a nice day!’
The authors of the tale the little rabbit are Johanne Jalifour (teacher) and Sébastien Guy (trainer).
For further information, you can contact :
The Ambassadors of Peace
c/o Maison des Jeunes de L’Azymut E*O
679, Chemin St-Joseph
St. Nicolas, Québec
E-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org
Website : http://membres.lycos.fr/ambassadeurspaix
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