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Late September and early October were busy times at the Center. On September 26 and October 3, staff members met with Clark University Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) students working at Claremont Academy and gave brief presentations on peace education. On September 27 and October 4, we hosted an introductory training in peace education at 901 Pleasant Street, open to anyone in the Worcester community who teaches or works with young people.

At the community training, participants were introduced to the basics of peace education, including sequential processes for resolving conflicts nonviolently, mindfulness activities, and nonviolent histories.

At the first session, Rose Koerner, of Clark University, discussed mindfulness activities she did with children in fifth grade as a teacher/researcher at Worcester’s Goddard Elementary School. Claire Schaeffer-Duffy and Dan Margolis began the evening with a “cocktail party,” an exercise that encouraged community building among attendees and also helped build active listening skills. The evening ended with stories of youth peacebuilders, including those opposing the projected South Dakota pipeline.

At the second session, participants were given some “brass tacks” tools to use with their youth, including the Conflict Escalator and the CLEAR method of conflict resolution. Participants agreed that they wanted to continue meeting informally, to hear talks on strategies for peace- building with youth, share experiences, and enjoy each other’s company.

At the sessions for Clark MAT’s, Claire Schaeffer-Duffy presented a broad overview of peace education and restorative practices to five student teachers, as well as others in the Claremont community who expressed interest. The Center believes that peace education is a necessity for teachers, and hopes to see it included in college teacher training curricula. We saw the meeting with the MATs as a small first step in that direction.

For more information, or to learn more about tools and events for educators, please feel free to contact us.