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Peace Dove Puppet Leads Annual Elementary Peace Parade

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A 10-year-old giant dove puppet made of chicken wire, four old bedsheets and other recycled materials led the way once again for the Eastern Mennonite Elementary School annual peace parade to mark the UN International Day of Peace.

As is tradition, fifth graders planned the event which started with the parade, included readings, scripture and song, and closed with a snack of cookies — made by the students — and grape juice. The snack “makes us think of communion,” said Nathan Pineo, “which means we remember to serve each other.”

The giant peace dove puppets are used around the world as part of the Jane Goodall-inspired Roots and Shoots Peace Day, which EMES has celebrated since the school began in 2005. Goodall has been a UN Messenger of Peace since 2002. Each Roots and Shoots project is “a step towards a future in which humans can live in peace in an environmentally sustainable way…,” according to the program website.

“This dove has been through a lot,” laughs Lynette Mast, peacebuilding teacher, who built the dove years ago together with her husband, Chris, and school children. “The tradition creates a good memory, even if the puppet is a challenge to store!”

Verses and Readings

Fifth graders planned the International Peace Day celebration. They prepared cookies and grape juice for a snack to remind each other of communion and Jesus’ call to serve each other.

The Bible verses chosen by the student planners included:

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. John 16:33

Make sure nobody pays back wrong for wrong but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else. I Thessalonians 5:15

The quotes chosen were:

Darkness cannot drive out darkness only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate only love can do that. — Martin Luther King, Jr.

If we have no peace it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other. — Mother Teresa

It isn’t enough to talk about peace one must believe in it and it isn’t enough to believe in peace one must work at it. — Eleanor Roosevelt

Peacebuilding at EMES

Third grader Isabela Jackson enjoys her Shalom cookie after the school’s International Day of Peace parade and celebration. Photo by Susan Stoltzfus

Peacebuilding is core to the EMES curriculum which includes intentionality about how students interact with each other, how teachers and students interact, and how each class connects with the whole school system.

Students learn daily how to manage conflict with restorative practices, including the use of circle processes to create safe spaces to share and process hurts or misunderstandings.

Download directions for a giant or smaller peace dove puppet, find other craffts and activities, and read about how International Peace Day is celebrated around the world at this site.

Check out some more photos from this story

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