Monday, October 5, 2015

Pinwheels for Peace Spin Across School Lawns

Wilchester Elementary
The front yards and art installations at four elementary schools caught the eyes of many on Monday, Sept. 21, as colorful paper pinwheels spun in the wind or were displayed in special campus settings.

Wilchester and Rummel Creek elementary schools coordinated a Pinwheels for Peace art and literacy project to mark International Peace Day on Sept. 21. Four district elementary schools reported Pinwheels for Peace projects. They include Woodview and Terrace elementary schools.

Campus art teachers Stephanie Walton of Wilchester and Carole Pena of Rummel Creek helped students “plant” messages of peace on pinwheels at Wilchester. The two schools are located across the street from each other. Rummel Creek occupies a transition site located at Westchester Academy for International Studies.

Rummel Creek Elementary
Photo by Shannon Otermat
The Pinwheels for Peace art project began 10 years ago. Two Florida teachers saw it as a way for students to express personal feelings and to promote peace at school and elsewhere. Today, Pinwheels for Peace estimates that up to 1,300 locations had 500,000 pinwheels spinning in the first year. This year, 3,500 campuses and other locations worldwide were spinning 4.5 million pinwheels, the organization said.

Wilchester Elementary students created pinwheels of all shapes and sizes. Students added their views about war, peace, tolerance, and living in harmony with others. A typical pinwheel had a student thought printed on one side, and a visual picture on the other side.

Designed as a nonpolitical project, it’s hoped that “the spinning of the pinwheels will spread out thoughts and feelings about peace throughout the country and the world,” organizers report.

At Woodview Elementary, all 660 students took part in a large art installation. Earlier in September, students listened for 10 days to morning announcements about kindness, the Golden Rule, gossip, teasing, character, diversity, bullying, conflict resolution and making choices.

Pinwheels created by Terrace Elementary students
Students dressed in 1960s-era costumes sang popular peace-themed songs, and art teacher Kathy Frith gave a short presentation on the project. She urged students to think about how they can make Woodview Elementary a peaceful place. Principal Pamela Pennington spoke on the importance of kindness, and parents were invited to observe and hear a presentation on the topic “Peace in the Home.”

At Terrace Elementary, pinwheels were placed outdoors on Sept. 21 in a program that was combined with the No Place for Hate campus campaign. Students created pinwheels in art class as personal peace pledges. In the two weeks before Sept. 21, a campus Pledge for Peace was drafted, then read by fifth-graders during televised morning announcements.


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