Dear Junior School Parents,
Peace is a concept that denotes a state of calm or tranquility and the absence of disturbance, disorder, war, and conflict. It corresponds also to a social and political ideal. Peace is a key concept for the UNITED NATIONS, one of the main missions being the maintenance of international peace and security (1).
Analyzing the concept of peace can be done through a variety of lenses. We could look at it through the lens of History. We would learn that "of the past 3,400 years, humans have been entirely at peace
for 268 of them, or just 8 percent of recorded history" (2). We can also look at this concept through the lens of Geography. Last year, only ten countries in the world were free from conflict (3).
I have often found it very instructive to look at a concept through the lens of etymology:
mid-12c., "freedom from civil disorder," from Anglo-French pes, Old French pais "peace, reconciliation, silence, permission" (11c., Modern French paix), from Latin pacem (nominative pax) "compact, agreement, treaty of peace, tranquility, absence of war" (4)
Peace is therefore only referred to when there is an evidence of conflict: it is ironically defined by the existence of war. It is also often perceived as being related to the victory or the oppression of the parties involved. This is a misunderstanding as "Peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved by understanding" (5).
This necessity to understand in order to achieve Peace led UNIS a long time ago to develop the idea of the Peace Table. Through education and strategies that apply to real life events, we are giving our students the tools to understand the origin of a conflict in which they may be caught and empowering them to find their own resolution.
In this Newsletter, we explore as our main topic the origin of the Peace Table. A tradition that defines UNIS.
Junior School Principal
Junior School Assistant Principal
IN THIS NEWSLETTER
- Agenda: Important Dates
- UNIS Peace Table by Junko Saito, Charlotte Mourlot, J1 Teachers and Karen Ager, Learning Specialist
- Photo Albums by Anne Dohna
- J1 Mexico Project by Louise Skinner, J1 Teacher.
- Learner Profile: Balanced by Erin M. Threlfall, Service Learning Coordinator
- Bit of News
- Wednesday, December 20 to Tuesday, January 2 - No Classes for Students - Winter Break
- Wednesday, January 3 - Classes Resume
- Wednesday, January 3 - No Yellow School Bus
- Monday, January 15 - School Closed - MLK
- Wednesday, January 10 - JS Parent Coffee on Technology 8:30-9:30 Cafe
- Thursday, January 11 - PA General Meeting 8:30-9:30 Cafe
- Monday, February 19 - Wednesday, February 21 - No Classes for Students - February Break
- Thursday, February 22 & Friday, February 23 – No Yellow Bus
The idea of the peace table was brought to UNIS when Sheila Desmond was a homeroom teacher. Ms. Desmond worked at the United Nations before joining UNIS and worked at UNIS from 1969 to 2007.
When I started teaching at UNIS, Sheila shared how she adopted the principles of the Security Council for the Junior School. She employed the way that the Security Council works as a symbol to bring conflict resolution to the JS peace table. The peace table is a reminder for children to work out their problems by talking about them, sharing their feelings, and understanding one another more deeply. It helps students remember that physical force should not be used as a tool to solve an issue or problem.
There are Peace Tables throughout the JS. We have a Peace Bench on the playground and Peace Tables have a place in all homeroom and specialist classrooms.
As Sheila Desmond reminds us:
Every teacher thinks at some time or another, "I wish I had a peaceful atmosphere in my class, I wish I could help my children solve their own problems without complaining to the grownups, etc, etc," In teaching children conflict resolution techniques you are giving them the tools of the future, helping them to help themselves.
The main thing is to tell people to think up their own ways of what works in practice to create a harmonious classroom environment which focuses on caring and sharing, on understanding that everything and everyone is connected and interdependent and that we have the one and only same home and environment which we share and are responsible for; also, solving problems peacefully is the only choice we
can make; we are responsible for each other in every way, now and in the future :)
No teacher or parent must feel that this is the only way or that they have to follow steps one, two, three etc. The idea is, like in real life, there are ideas that last and last, and the way they are used evolve over time.
The children learn how to conduct a peace talk.
One person invites another to have a peace talk. The person who is invited to the peace table must go.
The person who initiated the talk begins to share his/her feeling(s) by using an "I" message.
- I didn't like the way ...
- I felt sad when ...
- I was not happy when ...
The other person listens until he/she finishes and responds.
When the problem is not solved between them they may invite the third person (peacekeeper) to the peace table to help solve the problem. The peacekeeper must be chosen and agreed to by both parties to listen to both sides of the stories fairly. Then he/she suggests a way to solve the problem. If it is not still solved, they may invite a grown-up or even the whole class to help them solve it.
The children may have realized that there might be a problem that may not be solved completely or the solution may not make them feel better. When they leave the peace table what they need to take away it the most important part of this whole process, to UNDERSTAND each other better in the situation.
Junko Saito, J1 Teacher
Video that Karen Ager and Charlotte Mourlot began with the Peacemakers last year
Sheila Desmond during her visit at UNIS for the UN Day, October 2017
A special thank you to Shiho Mashiko (mother of Takafumi J3) who has made the origami lotus flowers for our peace tables for the past 3 years.
If you've been in the Junior school lately, you may have noticed the highly decorative wall pockets that are on display, created by the Junior 1 artists. Each child begins with two flat slabs of clay. They change the surface of the clay by pressing all sorts of objects into the smooth clay. The teaching focus is on investigating texture and how it relates to pattern and design, the student focus is on discovery and learning about the plasticity of mud. We use a crunched paper towel to create the hollow that is the pocket. One slab in layered over the paper towel to force the separation between the two clay slabs. The edges are secured much as one attaches the crusts when making a pie. The paper towel turns to ash as
the clay bakes in the kiln. The children have choices when finishing the ceramic pockets: either to use metallic paint or apply layers of ceramic glazes. We wash the surface of the pocket after color is applied to highlight the recessed markings in the clay. This is what brings the look of delicacy, or the look of aged treasure, or shows off the elements of pattern and design. The children cannot wait to take these treasures home! I am grateful that they are willing to share their work with the community for a short time.
Anne Dohna, Art Teacher
During morning meeting back in September, some J1LS students were discussing the recent earthquake that had struck Central Mexico on September 19th. They were deeply affected knowing that students their own age were displaced from their homes and that their schools were shut down. The J1LS students started to brainstorm ways they could help. " I can share some of my crayons, I can give these extra ones to Mexico" said one student. "I don't really need all this paper, I can give the rest to Mexico" One by one, the J1LS students started thinking of extra things they didn't really need that could be used by the students that had nothing, in Mexico. This, snowballed into the other J1 classrooms quickly and they also came up
with ways to help. One school that was in urgent need for school supplies was The Benito Juarez School. We decided to make a pledge to help support this school. An easy thing would be to ask parents for donations, but how could the children make it their own service learning action project. The J1 children thought about what they could do at school and at home, they discussed this with their parents and then committed to taking action and signed the pledge card. Some children pledged to give up a treat, like ice-cream or candy treats. Others promised to be more proactive and help out at home, by making their bed every morning, or putting out the trash. This pledge was carried out for a full week. After fulfilling their pledge, the students were able to earn their shopping trip to buy the supplies needed for donation.
The J1 team donated 12 large boxes of paper, pencils, crayons, scissors, rulers, markers, glue sticks, notebooks, erasers and origami papers cranes. These were all packaged up along with thoughtful notes and letters written from our J1 classes. A big Thank you to Valeska and Carlos Corona (Alexis J1LS) who are overseeing the transportation of the supplies to The Benito Juarez School in Mexico.
Louise Skinner, J1 Teacher
This month, the learner profile in focus is "Balanced". Erin M. Threlfall, our Service Learning Coordinator explores what it means to be a balanced person.
"Balance, peace, and joy are the fruit of a successful life. It starts with recognizing your talents and finding ways to serve others by using them." - Thomas Kinkade
More than ever, it seems to be important to talk about living life in balance. From the impacts of global warming to obesity epidemics, high stress levels, and conflict from extremist beliefs, we have seen evidence of what happens when things fall out of balance. It is easy to see the impacts of imbalance, and easy to talk about the need to live a balanced life, however achieving balance consistently can be an incredibly challenging task. An inquiry into
BALANCE might helps us find strategies to be more balanced as we attempt to craft happy, fulfilling lives for ourselves, our students, and our families.
WHAT DOES A BALANCED LIFE LOOK LIKE? You cannot be what you cannot see, or so said my Grandfather who always encouraged me to have a clear image in mind of what I wanted my life to look like. As we work to investigate the attribute BALANCE with our students, we might first begin with looking at the form of a balanced life. Encouraging them to ask others what balance means might help them to begin to imagine what balance would look like in their own lives.
HOW IS A BALANCED LIFE
CONNECTED TO GLOBAL CITIZENSHIP, PERSONAL HEALTH AND WORLD HEALTH? Why do we place value on this attribute for Global Citizenship? In part, because it asks that we see the interdependence and connections to the people around us and within the world. Additionally, when we balance the different aspects of our lives, we have the opportunity to experience and appreciate so much that the world has to offer. We can learn a lot about ourselves and others through connecting with the arts, enjoying intellectual pursuits, engaging in a variety of activities, and taking equal time for work and play.
UN CONNECTION: WHAT IS THE FUNCTION OF BALANCE IN HAPPINESS? The UN World Happiness Report is out for 2017, and it has some
interesting information available about the causes of happiness and misery, along with detailed information about how different countries rank for happiness.
It's worth looking at to investigate how different countries do with promoting well being, which includes a sense of a balance.
HOW WOULD BEING BALANCED CHANGE OUR LIVES and IMPACT OUR WELL BEING? Our children will learn best when we model being balanced for them. To that end, consider taking the time for yourself to reflect on your current status of living a balanced life. Would you benefit from a change? Are you setting boundaries between work and personal life that would
enable you to be more balanced and enjoy life? Talk with the children in your life about how you are leading a balanced life. Consider discussions around balance with technology, nutrition, exercise, work and play as starting points.
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVES ON WHAT IT MEANS TO BE BALANCED? We checked in with our UNIS community and here is what some had to say:
"Feeling emotionally balanced is experiencing an overall happy, serene life while acknowledging and coping positively with stressors within self and with others." - Dt. Rachel Matoto, MS Psychologist
"A balanced student in the library is a student who can read for school and for pleasure from different perspectives including but not limited to gender, race, nationalities, and opinions. This student can research and select varied sources from different formats such as printed, online, and through electronic subscription databases and different points of view. Finally, a balanced student in the library setting is a student who uses the library space for different purposes such as reading, researching, working in groups with respect for others, and socializing." - Mr. Jerome Dutilloy, UNIS TUT House Head Librarian and Extended Essay Coordinator
It may be hard to find balance in this hectic holiday season; I wish you all the best as you strive to balance all the demands that the holidays may bring your way.
Erin M. Threlfall
Service Learning Coordinator
The IB Learner Profile is embedded in all our classes, from JS to TUT house. The picture above is from one of our JAs. They created an IB Learner Profile Board.
UNIS 70th Celebration on March 1, 2018
Save the date for the UNIS 70th Celebration on March 1, 2018. You can help us make this evening a success by donating auction items or by becoming a sponsor of this milestone celebration. For more information or to donate, please contact email@example.com.
A reminder about the Morning Arrival Protocols
Please remember that Junior School opens for students at 8:20 am. Unaccompanied children who arrive between 8:00 am and 8:20 may play under JS staff supervision in our playground and will be led to class at 8:20.
Junior School children who are accompanied by an adult may go to the cafeteria or at 8:00 am may go to the Junior School Library. Please do not enter the library before 8:00 am and remember that there is no food or drink allowed in the library.
As the weather becomes cooler, please note that we follow the Department of Health guidelines for outdoor play so remember to dress children accordingly.
The New York City Department of Health Guidelines regarding outdoor play in cold weather states: "Children benefit from vigorous exercise and should be given the opportunity to play outside whenever possible. Unless it is snowing or there is ice on the playground low temperatures should not be a barrier to outside play, as long as children are appropriately dressed. The City's Health Department strongly encourages principals to maintain outdoor play periods on the vast majority of winter
Recommendations are as follows: If the wind chill factor is above 20 degrees, it is safe to play outside. If the wind chill factor is 0-20, outside play is advised provided that students are appropriately dressed and under observation to make sure that they are wearing their coats, hats, and gloves.
Illustration from the French book "La fille de neige - raconté par Robert Giraud, illustré par Hélène Muller"
After School Activities - Winter Calendar Dates
- Dec: 4, 11,18
- Jan: 8, 22, 29
- Feb: 5, 12
- Dec: 5, 12, 19
- Jan: 9, 16, 23, 30
- Feb: 6
- Dec: 6, 13
- Jan: 3, 10, 17, 24, 31
- Feb: 7
- Dec: 7, 14
- Jan: 4, 11, 18,25
- Feb: 1, 8
- Dec: 8, 15
- Jan: 5, 12, 19,
- Feb: 2, 16
Please do not hesitate to contact Dr. Jalilvand if you have any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Caregiver Access to UNIS
To give permission for a new caregiver to enter UNIS to pick up or drop your child, please log in to the UNIS Parent Portal (->My BackPack -> Settings -> My Profile -> Edit) and enter that caregiver's name as an Additional Contact in "My Profile" section in My Backpack. Click EDIT and scroll down to ADD as many Additional Contacts as you need. After you do that, your caregiver can have a UNIS ID made that will allow him/her access to the school to pick up and drop off.
In the interim, until the ID card is made, please have your caregiver be prepared to present a photo ID to Security at the front gate each day, along with this authorization form .
If your caregiver is temporary, or a visiting family member will be picking up or dropping off, please follow the same procedure (adding their name to your family profile and giving them this authorization form to present at the security
gate with a photo ID). However, in temporary situations, there is no need for a UNIS ID card to be issued.
In either case, in addition to your homeroom teacher, please email email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org in advance to alert the school that a new or temporary caregiver has permission to pick up your child, providing their full name and all dates and times that they will arrive. If the pick up will be after 2:55 because your child is in an after school activity, please also notify email@example.com, or firstname.lastname@example.org for athletics.
Updating Family Contact Info in the Parent Portal
Please review your family profile and contact information to ensure that your phone numbers and email addresses are up to date. All departments at UNIS, including the Nurse, rely on the information that you provide here to contact you. After logging in to the UNIS Parent Portal, you may review and update all of your family contact information by visiting ->My BackPack -> Settings -> My Profile -> Edit.