Giving peace a chance

Posted: Wednesday, October 03, 2007


  Soldotna Montessori students teach their parents how to make Pinwheels for Peace.

Soldotna Montessori students teach their parents how to make Pinwheels for Peace.

In an effort to share their feelings about peace, tolerance, cooperation, and unity, students of the Soldotna Montessori School participated in the September 21st International Peace Day at Soldotna Elementary School. Through the international Pinwheels for Peace project students made a public visual statement about their wishes for peace. According to the organization a pinwheel is a childhood symbol that reminds us of a time when things were simple, joyful, and peaceful. Simple instructions for making a pinwheel were provided by the project and were easily made using just about any type of material.

At Soldotna Montessori School students helped their parents create their own pinwheels and then write their personal wishes for peace on the wings of their pinwheel. After everyone had completed their pinwheels some 300 parents, students, teachers and community members filed into the Soldotna Elementary School gymnasium to join in a peace pledge led by the kindergarten class. Elizabeth Cho sang a Peace Song solo and then was joined by the student body and a team of Blacklight Signers. Taryn McCubbins spoke about Peace and Montessori, and Emily DiPaolo shared her philosophy of peace. “Peace means celebrating hope and community with your family and friends and to think of all the things you are thankful for so that everybody would get along with one another,” said McCubbins. The purpose of International Peace Day was not political and not necessarily associated with war, “It can be related to violence in our daily lives and just not getting angry or doing any kind of fighting,” added DiPaolo.

Following the brief assembly students planted their pinwheels by the peace pole at Soldotna Elementary School, where the words, “May Peace Prevail on Earth” is written in eight different languages. “We’re going to let our wishes for peace blow around the world, and the wish I made was that people would be happy with what they have and that we would have less selfish people in the world,” said 3rd grader Mara Brown.

It was estimated that over 1.2 million pinwheels were spinning in more than 3,000 locations around the world on September 21st. According to their website Pinwheels for Peace is an art installation project started in 2005 by two Art teachers, Ann Ayers and Ellen McMillan, who teach at Monarch High School in Coconut Creek, Florida, as a way for students to express their feelings about what’s going on in the world and in their lives. The project has grown internationally and this year became a student led and organized project at the Soldotna Montessori School.

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