Religious Freedom

Over and over again I found that many of the peace heroes were using the same religious language, regardless of their faith tradition. The words “image of God” or “children of God” were repeated in every religious conviction, as was the idea that we are all (as a result) brothers and sisters, which is why we bear so much responsibility toward one another

I’ve been cautioned, on a number of occasions, about the “religious tone” implicit in some of the Curriculum’s material. This, I’ve been told, will be an obstacle for some schools; perhaps I ought to reconsider and take out the sections that mention a peace hero’s religious convictions. While I understand the concern, my engagement with the religious convictions of some heroes is actually intentional. And here’s why. Continue reading “Religious Freedom”

Flagging History

To re-imagine a country’s flag is an incredibly poignant exercise – it brings the story behind the history to life in a visual and visceral way

To say that this is the first year the Curriculum is being piloted outside of Jerusalem School is not exactly true. In actual fact, the Curriculum began its venture into the wide world a little over a year ago, when Mel and Joccoa decided to add it to their homeschooling program, as an experiment. Mel is a trained teacher from Australia who now lives in Kenya; Joccoa is Mel’s daughter and has just begun her adventures in sixth grade. Peace Heroes was only supposed to be a short-lived addition to Joccoa’s homeschool program in fifth grade, but Mel soon realized that she would have to find a way to teach it for the duration of the year when Joccoa decided it was one of her favorite subjects. By the time Joccoa finishes sixth grade, she will have covered an extensive number of heroes!

What makes Mel and Joccoa’s experience with the Curriculum so unique is the incredibly creative way they have chosen to engage with it, Continue reading “Flagging History”

Points of Light

The Peace Heroes Curriculum does not try to cover up the ugly realities of history. Rather, it aims to find points of light in those dark places – moments of redemption that transform history into something infused with hope

When asked – What is Peace? – one of the students in our pilot program answered: “A dark night with stars.”

One of the goals of the Peace Heroes Curriculum is to teach history through the lens of peace, not war. Recently someone asked me if that means we skip over the darker parts of history. And the answer is, quite simply, no. The students still learn about World War II; they learn about the Troubles in Northern Ireland and the many faces of apartheid; they are exposed to the horrors of the North American slave trade or the devastating effects of the Vietnam War.

In fact, there are darker facets of history in this Curriculum that the students would probably not be exposed to otherwise – at least not in the academic setting: Continue reading “Points of Light”

Tangible Peace

I love that the Curriculum, from the outset of the pilot program, is so diverse in its use. It is an unintentional fleshing out of one of the Curriculum’s core values: Unity in diversity

The pilot is starting to take off! And it’s so exciting to see. One aspect I hadn’t thought about or expected was how each of the schools (and even each of the teachers) would find their own unique and creative way to implement the Curriculum. Partly that’s because I’m handing them an open-ended Curriculum: We haven’t put the content into lesson plans and we haven’t set down a specific way of teaching the material. But this format has actually allowed teachers a certain freedom – the freedom to interact with and implement the Curriculum in ways that are much more in line with their personalities, their passions and convictions, and their artistic and academic talents. I love this – I love that the Curriculum, from the outset of the pilot program, is so diverse in its use. It is an unintentional fleshing out of one of the Curriculum’s core values: Unity in diversity. We all have the same content, but we are finding our own unique ways to pass it on to our students . . .

Continue reading “Tangible Peace”

Welcome to Our New Blog!

Welcome to our Peace Heroes Curriculum blog! For the time being, I’ve created a very simple site, which aims to do two things:

1) Keep teachers participating in our 2016-2017 pilot program informed about what is happening in the other schools (providing them with a platform for interactive discussion and dialogue)
2) Give anyone who is interested a glimpse into how the program is taking shape in its various contexts

After three years of teaching the Curriculum at the Jerusalem School, we are excited to be expanding our reach to several other schools, all of which have agreed to participate in this pilot year. The Curriculum has been (or is about to be) launched in schools in Israel and Palestine, Kenya and (potentially) South Africa at the elementary, middle, and high school levels. We have an exciting year ahead of us, which I hope to faithfully document through this simple blog.

For more information about the Curriculum, please visit our Overview page.