“The true measure of a nation’s standing is how well it attends to its children – their health and safety, their material security, their education and socialization and their sense of being loved, valued and included in the families and societies into which they are born.”
Peace Kids Program builds social and emotional learning skills in Southern Gulf Islands primary grade school children to support their mental health and social well-being with family, friends and in future relationships. Through a community collaborative process, the program seeks to enhance protective factors in young people and provide violence prevention skill building opportunities including workshops exploring mental- wellness, managing stress, regulating emotions, belonging and connectedness, tolerance, conflict resolution, gender equality and bullying prevention. In the past three years, Peace Kid program has worked with over 700 children in the Southern Gulf Islands and is dedicated to removing barriers and creating learning opportunities to support individual and community health and wellness.
Peace Kids is a 12-session (4 sessions per grade) program intended to be delivered over three years to children in grades 4, 5, and 6. It is facilitated by two SWOVA facilitators who go into the classroom to work with students. Teachers who host the program are provided with a Peace Kids manual in order to learn about the program and to extend the learning into their classroom.
The Peace Kids curricula includes a Teacher’s Guide available here – Teachers Guide
SWOVA received feedback from youth, teachers, parents and school administrators, indicating a need to provide education and resources for younger children and families at the elementary school level. Our community has identified that healthy and respectful relationships skill-building and education needs to begin at a younger age, to address bullying and systemic violence occurring with younger students, and to offer students additional social emotional learning skills to increase personal and collective community health, safety and well-being. We know that peace-based education is integral to the healthy development of physical, emotional, social and mental well-being of children and youth and to promote success later in life.
“Peace Kids Program gave all of the children in the class a safe and comfortable venue as well as common language with which to talk about the nuances of social situations and behaviour and also tools for problem solving. The teacher also participated and was able to refer to the language and these tools through the rest of the year. We noticed a reduction in the amount and intensity of peer conflict with the girls in the class who had been struggling before, and Peace Kids certainly contributed to this!”
– Elementary School Principal –
We are a family that talk at home a lot about feelings, emotional intelligence, leadership and the importance of having a healthy connection to these skills. It’s important to me because emotional well-being effects every aspect of one’s life through our whole life! What feels meaningful about these kinds of conversations occurring in a classroom setting is that groups of peers are receiving the information together about healthy relationship building with themselves and each other. Messaging that is heard at home and at school bridges deeper learning in my opinion. School environments are where kids are learning how to be together, for better or worse. We are fortunate to have the programs that SWOVA Community Development and Research Society offers in our schools to support emotional development and help with the issues of bullying behaviour that is unfortunately common among our youth. For me, curriculum around health and well-being is equally as important as Math, reading and writing. When my kids are feeling well at school they learn quickly. When they are emotionally unwell, they lose focus and interest, so the key for me has always been to support their well-being first. Hence, why I’m such a big fan of Peace Kids Program!”
– Parent of a Peace Kids Program Participant-
The Peace Kids pilot project has been generously funded by Salt Spring Island Foundation and Vancouver Foundation.