Colleges & Kids Seek Ways to Bring Peace on Earth

by Laura Peroutka

Peace by Peace is a program that is run at Johns Hopkins University and Goucher College. It aims at teaching conflict-resolution skills to 4th and 5th graders at local elementary schools. This school year, Johns Hopkins University is teaching at Medfield Heights Elementary.

Concentrating on many aspects of conflict, including bullying, escalation, choice and consequence, an important aspect of the program is trying to find ways to create peace in our community. For the students, their community can range from their home life, to school, to Baltimore, and even to the entire world.

As an exercise in thinking about how peace can be achieved, the students at Medfield Heights Elementary were asked to write about a way they thought peace could be achieved. One student approached the task by looking at her own home. “I want to make peace in my house by not having people whistle while others are watching T.V., so it has to be turned up too loud,” wrote Iyonna (a 4th grader).

Another student looked at the situation more globally. “I think a good way to bring peace to our community is to get along. Do not fight. Do not smoke. Help the poor; give to the needy. Help others. Do not yell at each other unless it is important," wrote Elizabeth (a 4th grader).

These ideas, although they may seem over-simplifed to many adults, are straightforward, surprisingly practical. As the holiday season approaches, and throughout the rest of the year, maybe we can all strive to create a more peaceful community by doing something as simple as “getting along.”

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This story was published on December 4, 2002.