Martin Luther King, Jr. Nobel Price Peace winner
My Peace Reading Wreath or Peace Reading Tree
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What is the meaning of
There are separate parts to the answer according to all the
dictionaries and encyclopedias I researched. In a nutshell,
Peace is law and order, absence of war, a
state of harmony and mental calm.
1. absence of war -
freedom from war, or the time when a war or conflict ends
2. law and order - the absence of violence or
other disturbances within a state
3. state of harmony -
freedom from conflict or disagreement among people or groups of
4. mental calm
- a state of mental calm and serenity, with no
Surely, we will formulate a simpler explanation for our children
that they can understand over time as they grow.
There are many other elements in our behavior that come into
play when we talk about peace and how it is achieved and
maintained: forgiveness, caring, sharing, positive
communication, tolerance, citizenship, embracing diversity, cultural
unity, caring for all living things, individuality, freedom, and so
much more.... Children learn about all of these a little bit at
a time, every single day from interacting with family, their
educators and the world around them. Learning to live in peace
is an ongoing process of education.
The following holidays and special occasions: Martin Luther King,
Jr. Day, Peace Day, Race Unity Day and many others, can help bring
awareness to all of us of how important it is to address this
subject with children.
One way to include peace education regularly is through children's
literature or religious readings (example: Bible Stories) that
address the elements that are necessary to learn behavior that
maintains and preserves peace.
Activity 1: Unity Hand Flower, Unity Hand Wreath or Unity Hand Tree
MY PEACE READING WREATH / TREE or READING FOR PEACE
Introduction: What is Peace and Reading for Peace:
Share with the children they are going to READ FOR PEACE.
"What? A "piece of what?" They will say. You
have their attention now, and this is the moment of truth, you have
to discuss what is PEACE. Prepare an choose those special
words for preschoolers, you feel just flow out of your mouth like
honey, because those are the words they will remember.
Every parent and educator can formulate them according to their
* Craft Activity: Select
from a Unity
Hand Flower, Unity
Hand Wreath Craft or a Unity
Tree Craft as a foundation to start Reading for Peace.
Choose the craft that appeals to you.
1. The instructions for the Unity Hand Wreath or Tree say to mix different shades of paint
and make paint handprints, when these are dry, cut out and
assemble the wreath. This method works really well with one to
five children and one adult on hand.
Suggestions for larger groups: 6 or more
Trace each child's hand ahead of time and cut the number of
handprints needed for the craft selected on white paper or different
shades of color paper. Distribute the handprints on the
day of the activity in badges of three's. The children then
paint the hand cut outs, they mix another badge of paint in another
shade, proceed to distribute more handprints. Dry
the handprints with a hair dryer as the children paint the next
badge, and so forth.
2. Reading Peace Day: Each month read and discuss a book or
online picture book to
the children that addresses peace education issues or simply
introduces another culture to foster cultural unity: these may have
topics mentioned above in bold lettering.. Below is a short
suggested reading list and these books should be available at
the library or you may already have some in your home or
facility. Spiritual and/or religious readings are also a great
choice for home or educational facility that allows it.
3. If possible plan for a related craft or activity for each
book. Then together write the title, author and date the book was
read inside the palm of a handprint in the wreath craft or handprint
tree craft. You may want to write a title inside the dove or
on the three trunk such as: Reading for Peace or My Peace
Alternative for Child Care Facility or Preschool:
Make an enlargement of the three trunk template at a
printing/copying establishment such as Kinko's or draw and paint one
if you prefer to make a large tree. A large tree is
convenient because it will allow to include many little hands on the
tree to accommodate large groups.
When all the peace readings/activities have been completed
at the end of the school year, make a picture of the
children in front of the Peace Wreath or Peace Tree, and a have a
simple Peace Day celebration. Each child can receive the photo
to take home with a typed list of the books s/he was read to related
to peace education throughout the school year. This makes a
beautiful keepsake and also parents can revisit these books with the
help of the list provided.
A Peace Reading List:
Most of the books suggested below are for children between 2.5+ and
Some have links to related crafts & resources (link is on the
Is My House by Arthur
2. Martin Luther King Jr. first biographies for
children, Here are some book recommendations:
Luther King, Jr. (First Biographies)
Martin Luther King, Jr.: "I Have a Dream (A Troll First-Start
Birthday, Martin Luther King
The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister (2+)
Country Far Away by Nigel Gray (2+)
Is Your Language? by Debra Leventhal and Monica
Picture Book of Anne Frank (Picture Book Biography) by David Adler and Karen Ritz
(recommended for 4-8), parents and educators should assess if their
four year old is ready for this book.
Had a Little Overcoat (Caldecott Medal Book, 2000) by Simms Tabak
Colors of Us by Karen Katz
10. Title Yo! Yes? by Christopher Raschka (4+)
American Wei by Marion Hess Pomeranc
The above reading list is very limited in scope. There
are numerous other excellent books that your librarian will be happy
to help you select. Many of the books suggested are to address
the topic of embracing diversity and cultural unity.
Online Picture Book Stories:
PeaceKidz Story Center
Wonderful online picture book stories for peace
Enjoy and read for PEACE!
*glue or glue stick
Instructions and templates if applicable for:
Hand Wreath Craft