“Peace Makes the World a Better Place” – Third-Grade Classroom Presentation
History of the Project
The Westchester Chapter of UNA-USA initiated this education project in the spring of 2005 in a few public schools in Yonkers, NY. Yonkers is the largest city in Westchester County, with a widely diverse population. Building on the success of the pilot program, we have expanded the number of schools being reached to as many as seventeen. The schools have welcomed our project as an enrichment to the basic curriculum. Our presentation is geared particularly to these third-grade classes, but it can be adapted to any environment and any elementary-school level. With some adjustments, the general plan can be used for middle schools as well.
The program is an introduction to the concepts of the United Nations and of peace-making. Through pictures and discussion, with active student participation, it aims to give children a basic familiarity with the idea of nations of the world working together to solve problems through peaceful means. In the end, the goal is for students to understand what the United Nations is, how it came about, what its purpose is, and a few of its specific areas of focus. As concrete illustrations of real-life issues the UN addresses, we have selected the topics of refugees and clean water.
Overview of the program
Designed to be flexible, the program is carried out by volunteers who have an interest in the United Nations. Deep knowledge of the UN is not necessary, as the basic facts and concepts are easy to acquire through a small amount of reading. A team of two volunteers goes into each classroom for a period of about an hour and a half, alternating parts of the presentation between the two. Two picture boards are used for illustration: one showing the UN itself - the building, the General Assembly, the Secretary-General, the UN flag and the official languages; the second providing thought-provoking pictures to illustrate specific goals of the UN. In place of physical boards, the pictures can also be shown by projections on a smart board.
The second half of the class period allows the students to make an original drawing illustrating the idea of peace. The subject of the drawing can be whatever appeals to each student, usually drawn from the topics covered in the preceding discussion.
Click here for more details about how this project is executed and for pictures and other materials used in the presentation.