Teaching Ideas : Prayers for Peace
Get the children to compose individual and group prayers to reflect on different ways of resolving conflicts relating to either personal or global issues. The class can plant a garden of model poppies in the school to share their thoughts and ideas about ways of achieving peace between a range of different communities.
Whole School Assembly
Conduct a whole school assembly to spend time getting the children to discuss and reflect on ways of resolving conflicts between a range of groups and communities. Pupils from different classes can prepare dramas to present during the assembly showing a range of scenarios that might cause conflict in the school or wider community. Spend time discussing with the children in the assembly how each of the presented role-plays could be resolved peacefully such as talking through the issues or agreeing to compromise over a solution. You can extend the discussion by getting the school to reflect on how these same conflict resolutions might apply to other forms of conflict happening in the world.
Each class can then allocate some time during the week to compose prayers asking for God’s advice about how to resolve conflicts in the school or wider community to achieve peace. The children can work individually or in pairs to write a prayer outlining special ways that individuals and communities can use to find peace. Provide some of the children with templates that they can use to compose their prayers. You can also work with the whole class to compose some example prayers which can then be displayed on the board for the children to use as writing models when composing their own versions.
Once the children have completed writing their prayers they can be used to make models of white poppies as a symbol of peace. Get the class to write their completed prayers on a long strip of white tissue paper. The children can then roll the tissue paper to begin making a flower shape. They can cut into the top of the rolled tissue paper and then pull out some of the folds to construct the petals for the poppy shape. Get the class to stick their completed poppy models on top on a short piece of green garden cane or a painted lollipop stick to make their model flowers.
Select an area in the school to act as a prayer garden to to display the pupil’s poppy flowers. Fill some trays with sand which the children can then use to plant their poppies containing the prayers. Get some classes to make some model leaves from green sugar and tissue paper which can then be used to complete the garden area to fill in any gaps between the poppies. You can complete the prayer garden by displaying a candle model with lights in the centre of the garden. Leave out some chairs and cushions next to the garden which pupils can use when visiting the area to reflect on some of the presented prayers.