Teaching Peace in Schools

By Heidi Majano

Our last breakfast conversation was facilitated by two members from two organizations which the Peaceful World Foundation funded this year. Katherine Priore, Executive Director at Headstand and Kathy Grey, Director of Training at No Bully joined our breakfast conversation and engaged in our discussion around the topic of teaching peace in schools.

The question for our breakfast conversation was the following:

“Currently, what techniques are being used to teach peace in our schools and is there room for innovative approaches to promote peace?”

Kathy described how No Bully works with schools and school-aged youth to leverage student empathy to stop bullying and cyber bullying and to spread kindness, inclusion and acceptance for all students. Schools that are trained in the No Bully training systems develop a culture where students are accepted for who they are and solve over 90% of incidents of bullying.

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Kathy Grey facilitating a training session at one of the schools they serve.

Katherine added that her experience teaching at risk students from low income neighborhoods lead her to incorporate mindful practices in her classroom. She immediately saw the positive benefits that meditation and yoga had on her students which lead her to establish Headstand. Headstand’s mission is to empower at risk students to combat toxic stress through mindfulness and yoga. Their integrated programs enhance the student’s capacity for academic learning and promote healthy social and emotional well being.

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Katherine Priore leading a yoga class at one of the schools Headstand collaborates with.

Other guests around the breakfast table commented that teaching inner peace in schools is ground breaking territory.  Stress, poverty, trauma and violence are crippling our communities and mindful techniques to alleviate stress is being proven to increase both teachers’ and students’ performance in school and gain a healthier sense of well being.

We explored the question further as we discovered that there is indeed room for innovative approaches towards promoting peace in schools. Both No Bully and Headstand are actively creating peace building programs that work. Moving forward, how can we influence administrators and the education department to incorporate mindful techniques into the National Curriculum?

Both Kathy and Katherine expressed that consistency and building relationships with all stakeholders involved in the schools from the parents to administrators has proven to be the foundation for continuity and solidarity in their peace building programs.

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