(Reposted from: Warrington Guardian. February 16, 2018)
By Lauren Hirst
TAKING the small steps to understand the impact of conflict was one of the main catalysts behind an initiative set up by The Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Foundation for Peace.
The programme was launched after two young boys were killed on March 20, 1993, when two IRA bombs exploded in the town.
Ahead of the 25th anniversary of the tragedy, the foundation has been named the Warrington Guardian’s charity of the year and reporter Lauren Hirst has gone behind the scenes of Small Steps for Peace to discover how the programme is making a difference.
Ciara Kinsella, project lead, said: “Small Steps for Peace has had such a positive response from pupils and teachers.
“Our teachers’ pack includes a book, games and interactive exercises which are simple to run and understand and help young people explain and address their feelings with confidence.
“It gives children the tools to resolve problems without resorting to violence, which is essential as they approach their teenage years and adulthood.”
The programme is developed for key stage two pupils to help them understand the causes of conflict and the consequences of violence.
On Tuesday, the recent intake gathered at the Peace Centre for a graduation ceremony.
Pupils are encouraged to develop listening skills, build emotional intelligence and understand problem solving and teachers across the country have been trained in the peace education programme but the foundation still believes more must be done.
Nick Taylor, chief executive of the peace foundation, said: “The Government is setting up a commission to counter extremism and promote British values in schools.
“We think it must go further, talking about fundamental human values like compassion, courage and kindness.
“These are difficult to teach but they can be learned through experience. We want to see peace studies as part of the syllabus for schools across the region.”