We have just been accepted as an associate of War Resisters' International. This is an important move for us. We are an activist group of early childhood educators- preschool and kindergarten teachers, family child care providers, early childhood students and college professors, and family members. Our jobs are with the youngest children from birth to six or seven years of age. We are usually not activists because we are working so hard to maintain our relationships with many children and families. We are changing diapers, talking to parents, setting up classrooms, working with social workers, dealing with administrators, boards, taking classes learning, learning. To be a good advocate for children we must be able to look beyond the classroom and school and community to the world that children face. PEACE was founded over 30 years ago as Concerned Educators Allied for a Safe Environment. The Safe Environment being the classroom and the world. We have worked against war toys and for the War Toy Boycott, we have talked to teachers about violent play in the classroom, we have drawn up curriculum for on how-to teacher children about native American tribes which is anti-bias and inclusive, we have supported the growth of peace camps for young children to learn conflict resolution skills. We have provided resources for teachers on creating commercial free childhood and more. In Washington we have demonstrated for children’s programs and not war programs.
Now we hope to correspond with activists are doing peace education with children- not just young children. Teachers of young children understand how even youngest children can learn empathy, caring, enjoy nature, and how they become activists. Adults must play catch up when they realize violence and war are out of hand. They have to learn to call representatives, campaigning for candidates, holding vigils, writing and passing out flyers, talking in public, blocking entrances of buildings.
PEACE wants to learn what others are doing. From the small to the big. Children planning seeds in a cup isn’t blocking an arms dealer but learning to care for the environment can look different as years go on.
We help teachers to introduce peace in their classrooms. We met a group of teachers from Groton Massachusetts, who created a huge book signed by children and all kinds of people including Jimmy Carter and Bishop Tutu presented it to the United Nations. A group
We also have been working with on the taking of immigrant children on the Mexican border. We have suggested actions and supported rallies to speak out on this issue. Recently the group National Network Opposing Militarization of Youth to help their campaign opposing a new Pentagon program Mission: Readiness that reaches out to Preschool children to prepare them to be recruited into military services when they reach that age. We have so many things to do
We look forward to hearing about projects around the world and how we can publicize and share ideas.