The greatest of ideas can come from the youngest of minds.
This was the case recently when the kindergarteners at Faubion School in Portland, Oregon, decided to hold their very own peace march late last month.
“We did a unit on Martin Luther King Jr., and it inspired the students,” says kindergarten teacher Erica Hale. “We talked about how we could use our kid voices to spread peace and kindness in the world, and they said, ‘We could go around and tell everyone!’”
Spreading the Word
And that is exactly what they did. The students set a date and sent flyers around the entire school and community, inviting others to join the peace march. They even got their local university, Concordia University-Portland, particularly its college of education, involved.
As word started to spread, the kindergarteners realized that their parade was going to be quite an event. The students started hearing from local media, their parents, and the community, who all wanted to know if they could take part. On the day of the march, hundreds walked and carried signs in the February cold.
“I thought maybe a few classes would show up, but I was moved to tears when the whole school participated, made signs, sang songs, chanted, and played drums and tambourines,” Hale says.
A Single Voice
Hale says the idea to speak out stemmed from a simple phrase that is very common in kindergarten: Use your voice.
“I want these kids, and all people really, to understand how powerful their voices can be,” Hale says. “Our community has gone through a large change. This moment was impactful, not only because of its timing but because it brought us together and was about the children.”
For others who might want to have a peace march or conduct an activity similar to it, Hale says not to be afraid to ask for help. Even if you start small and just have a class or two involved, it’s still worthwhile to show students that their voice and actions matter.
On March 14, Hale says that her school plans to honor the Parkland, Florida, victims by joining hands around the outside of the entire Faubion School building. It’s a different act of protest than the planned walkout, but she says it’s the perfect action—a peaceful one—for her school.