Three experts talk about why integrating peace education into early childhood education has a positive long-term effect on peace. For more about peacebuilding education and early childhood development, visit http://www.unicef.org/earlychildhood/index_69852.html.
This unit, intended for a Pre-K through Grade 2 audience, is a tool to prevent conflict and to promote social, economic, and political justice amongst a nation’s youngest citizens. It can be integrated seamlessly throughout the curriculum as a learning process, equipping young children and adolescents with confliction resolution skills, respect for human diversity, and awareness of our interdependent world.
Nobel Laureate Mairead Maguire had dedicated her life to promoting peace, justice and equality in all corners of the world, including her homeland of Northern Ireland. In this podcast, she discusses the situation of children in conflict zones and how education can serve to promote tolerance and build peaceful societies. As Maguire states, “it begins in the schools where we implement education on non-violence, conflict resolution and goes right up to the top of our society where our governments are challenged to use non-violent methods to solving problems.”
In Bosnia, the ethnic tensions that triggered the siege of Sarajevo in the mid-1990s are still visible in some schools where separate curricula are used for different ethnic groups. The Džemaludin Čaušević Primary School is an exception. This multi-ethnic, multi-cultural school is open to all students regardless of ethnicity. It serves as an example of how multi-cultural approaches to learning bring out the best in children and communities.
In Ethiopia, UNICEF is supporting a pilot program in which older youth help prepare young pre-school and kindergarten students for school through tutoring. This child to child program demonstrates how youth can get involved in their communities at a young age and make a difference in the lives of others.
The Friendship Games is a sporting event organized by the Haitian and Dominican Olympic Committees to foster friendship and understanding between children in these neighboring countries. Although the nations have cultural differences, the games remind youth and adults that they share many similarities with one another, including a love for soccer.
The One Minutes Jr. network conducts workshops around the world that encourage youth to create sixty-second videos that clearly and creatively express issues of importance in their lives. The network is supported by UNICEF and the European Cultural Foundation. In this one minute video, a Malaysian youth reveals his many layered emotions by removing a stack of hand-drawn paper masks. The short video playfully explores the wide range of human emotions.
Three young people from Kosovo discuss how they are helping to bring about social change in their communities. In a country that is still ethnically divided and struggling with socio-economic, health and education issues, these adolescents are working on projects that bring together youth of different ethnic groups to work on issues that concern everyone. As one states, “We don’t need to talk about peace to build peace. You bring people together to work on some issues and in that way you show that it’s possible for people to work and live together.”
Peace education is a natural tool to prevent conflict and to promote social, economic, and political justice amongst a nation’s youngest citizens. It can be integrated seamlessly throughout the curriculum as a learning process, equipping young children and adolescents with confliction resolution skills, respect for human diversity, and awareness of our interconnected world.