Peacemaking with Young People

Peacemaking for Little Friends (l985) and Creating a Peace Experience (l988), both by Mary Joan Park. Little Friends for Peace in Maryland (4405 29th Street, Mount Rainier, MD, 20712).

By Dick Holland (reviewer)

These two booklets of over 50 pages provide excellent techniques for educators working with young people as parents, elementary school teachers, or counsellors. Mary Joan Park is a mother, teacher, and peace activist who is experienced in leading workshops and developing curricula.

Peacemaking for Little Friends is full of tips ranging from suggestions for teaching nonviolence in the home to work on conflict resolution techniques and setting up a peace education classroom. Suggested activities are numerous, and teachers will rejoice at the lesson plans, the "support systems" list, and the annotated bibliography.

Creating a Peace Experience deals with curriculum and resources for running a "peace camp." Instructions and plans are laid out for a co-operative experience that is adaptable for anything from a half-day retreat within the school to week long outdoor camp. The support material is extensive and even includes worksheets that could be reproduced. For example, the booklets include instructions for folding origami paper cranes, sketches of a whole host of peacemakers, and a l3- page section on co-operative games.

I recommend the material by Mary Joan Park, with a few qualifications. Although her approach is sensitive to the needs of children, her audience seems to be largely middle class; poor people and refugees, say, seem to be people other than ourselves. Also, I would have liked a more feminist perspective. The role of gender in the relationships of young people is not addressed and women's contributions to peace are not highlighted.

The booklets are American; Canadian children may find some of the references (Tom Dooley, Harriet Tubman, Johnny Appleseed) less relevant than do young people south of the border. You will need to locate material to supplement it. With all this in mind, Peacemaking for Little Friends and Creating a Peace Experience will be welcome additions to the bookshelves of peace educators.

Dick Holland is with Educators for Social Responsibility in Toronto.

Peace Magazine Aug-Sep 1989

Peace Magazine Aug-Sep 1989, page 28. Some rights reserved.

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