EMES Promotes Peacebuilding through Innovative Curriculum

August 21, 2023 / Abigail Cook
Students learn communication and cooperation in peacebuilding game
Students learn communication and cooperation in peacebuilding game

Eastern Mennonite Elementary School (EMES) is unique in its approach to education. They prioritize music, library, art, physical education, language, and peace-building classes, considering them to be just as important as core curriculum classes. They continue to honor the school’s Mennonite heritage by offering a class that promotes peace within their community.

Students write kindness reminders

The peace-building course is designed to cater to various grade levels, focusing on distinct themes. Kindergarteners learn about “Peace Around Me,” which teaches them about diversity, awareness, acceptance, and tolerance. First-graders focus on “Peace Within Me,” which covers topics such as emotional awareness and regulation, mindfulness, and conflict resolution using “I Messages.”

Second and third-grade students learn about “Peace With Others,” which delves into communication strategies, conflict resolution techniques using STORY steps, and friendship dynamics. Fourth and fifth-grade students are taught about “Peace in the World/Peace in Action,” which focuses on leadership, team-building, and service learning.

In a world where differences often lead to tension and even division, EMES is taking a proactive approach to teaching the skills students need to thrive in the community. The students who take this class are equipped with the skills and knowledge necessary to navigate social and emotional circumstances and to become leaders in promoting peace in their communities. The way of Jesus is central to the school’s ethos, and its curriculum reflects Jesus’ sermon on the mount:

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons and daughters of God.”

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