With November upon us, everyone is thinking about Remembrance Day, peace, and those who have given their lives so we may have our freedom. Often, I found it difficult to explain Remembrance Day to the young students I taught. For them, they haven’t seen the daily effects that wars have on families, homes, and countries. They are so far removed from World War I, World War II, and the Vietnam War that it’s difficult for them to make a connection. I found that teaching our children about peace has been a very effective tool as they can apply it to their everyday lives. Peace in the classroom, on the playground, and in their homes.
A few years ago, I can across a beautiful book called, “What Does Peace Feel Like?” by Vladimir Radunsky. It explores peace through the five senses of young children from around the world who attend the Ambrit International School in Rome, Italy. Peace smells like “fresh air that makes you want to go outside and sleep in the sun” to Oliver, age 10. To Giulia, age 9, peace looks like “your mom that kisses you and hugs you.” Irene, age 8, believes peace sounds like “a growling bear of war who gets shot by a love arrow and the fighting stops.” More than 100 boy and girl ice cream lovers think peace tastes like “vanilla ice cream, chocolate ice cream, strawberry ice cream, banana ice cream.” And, “the fur of a baby mouse” is how Fenna, age 9, describes how peace feels.
Every year, each one of my students would create their own version of the book with their own ideas and illustrations. Each student found a huge sense of accomplishment from this activity as it was simple enough for them to describe peace using their five senses, and the impact was powerful and lasting within each child. This was easily my favourite project to teach each year.
I encourage you to read this book with your children and explore peace through their five senses during this month of remembrance. Recreate the book with your young ones. If they are old enough to express themselves, but too little to write, scribe their ideas for them. Then, allow them to illustrate the book. When finished, suggest they share their book with their other family members as another way to give them a sense of accomplishment. Hopefully, the impact will be felt throughout your entire family as you learn about the meaning of peace through the eyes of your children.
Peace and love to everyone!