Find Your Voice: Student-led Advocacy as a Means for Peace

Jessica Young, 2nd Grade, Myers Park Traditional Elementary School

Curriculum Unit (PDF)


Peace has a myriad of meanings: a sense of calm within, the absence of violence, contentment or complacency. Prior to this unit, my students shared even more varied definitions like: peace means to relax, peace means doing yoga, meditating, or reading, being quiet alone, calm, and cozy, peace is not arguing or fighting, peace is being quiet, alone, and calm, or, that feeling puppies and dogs give me. Peace is all of this and more, but
it is not quiet for quiets sake, nor is it the absence of conflict. We cannot have reconciliation without truth and honesty can be imperfect, messy, and unsettling. Peace, to me, is about recognizing injustice and speaking up for those in need. This unit will bridge the gap between my school’s leadership program, the Leader in Me, and peace education by emphasizing student-led advocacy. Students will learn about their rights and study inspirational stories of other children that stood up against injustice. They will identify needs in our school community and beyond, and use their passion and talents to advocate for change. Children have a right to participate in the conversation and bringing peace education into the classroom is a crucial first step. If we want a more peaceful world, we
must teach peace.