Pupils from three primary schools in Manchester have drawn up a unique Peace Plan for their school after getting together to talk about peace and what it means to them.
A peace bus-stop, philosophy lessons, a peace festival, peace benches, and a peace garden – as well as tips from the children themselves on how to deal with anger and resolve disputes and arguments between friends – were amongst some of the ideas pupils came up with as part of their school peace plans.
The young pupils devised their plans at a special peace workshop held as part of a long-term Manchester schools’ peace project that began in 2015 to coincide with the 70th anniversary of the dropping of the nuclear bomb on Hiroshima.
The project has involved pupils from six local primary schools over the last two years. Pupils have already taken part in creative art and poetry sessions as a response to what they learned about the Hiroshima bomb, and presented their work to the Lord Mayor of Manchester and the Mayor of Hiroshima. Earlier this year pupils also got the chance to hear first-hand from two people who survived the nuclear bomb in 1945.
Last week saw pupils from St Margaret Mary’s RC Primary in Moston, Heald Place Primary in Rusholme, and Webster Primary in Hulme, get together at Manchester Museum to take part in a specially devised workshop to help them draw up their own peace plans for their schools.
Pupils heard from the Lord Mayor of Manchester Eddy Newman who told them about his visit to Hiroshima and Nagasaki earlier this year through the international organisation Mayors for Peace, and were helped by staff from The University of Manchester and Manchester Metropolitan University to explore the meaning of peace and to think about what they could do in their schools to make them peaceful places.
The Lord Mayor of Manchester, Councillor Eddy Newman, said: “It’s never been more important to get our children thinking about peace, what it means to them, and how they can work towards making their schools and the world a more peaceful place. I have no doubt that the children I met this week will go forward with their ideas and help make the world in the future a better and more peaceful place. As adults I think there is a lot we can and should learn from them.”
As well as taking part in the workshop session this week each of the schools is also going to be given a Gingko tree sapling to plant in their school grounds. The saplings are of great significance as they have been grown from seeds collected from a fully mature Gingko tree growing in Hiroshima that was believed to have died after the bomb. The following spring however the tree sprouted back into life and since then seeds have been taken from it and sent around the world in the name of peace.
Manchester was given some seeds in 2015 to mark 70 years since the Hiroshima bomb. Looked after by gardeners at the National Trust’s Dunham Massey, the seeds have now grown into 15 saplings. A sapling is going to be given to each of the six Manchester primary schools that have been taking part in the longer term peace project over the last two years.