AMICUS shared peaceful time today.
They sang some songs and exchanged blue wristbands as a massage of peace.
The AMICUS Peace Week Team decided to conduct a variety of activities designed to commemorate the Battle of Okinawa and promote the idea of appreciating the peace and comfortable lifestyle that we enjoy because of the sacrifice of many 70 years ago. During the week students from across the school studied about the parallel themes of the Battle of Okinawa, conflict resolution on the appreciation of peace. War is a complex notion for students to grasp, particularly lower graders, so one way AMICUS tries to apply a more practical understanding is through moral education with topics they can relate to, such as the prevention of bullying. It is important that students understand that the conflict they may sometimes see between students is a microcosm of conflicts on a macro scale, such as wars.
Moreover, as most of our student population will graduate with bilingual language ability, many of them will have the opportunity to travel, work and live overseas. This strength will also be compounded because they have studied and live in an island that provides tangible knowledge about the devastation of war and the appreciation of peace. The students have a great opportunity to use these components to become truly active and independent global citizens, which are the main goals of AMICUS.
As educators, we realize the value of cross curricular learning for students and hence we used subjects English, Japanese, Social Studies, Sophie’s time (Moral Education), Music, Information Technology to learn about peace. This proved to be truly effective as the students level of understanding of the Battle of Okinawa and value of peace increased. This was evident in the classroom discussions and work they produced over the work.
One of the main projects were the ‘Peace Posters’. Each student designed a poster and wrote the answer to ‘What Peace Means To Me’. We then hung the posters in a rainbow colored chain around the media center. The activity provides an attractive visual and is an easy way for students to understand what peace means to their peers. The librarians also displayed many of the books and newspapers with content related to peace. We were fortunate enough to be able to display some ‘panels’ about the Battle of Okinawa from the museum in Itoman. These also provided students with a portal to familiarize themselves with what happened in Okinawa in 1945.
We also had a mini Peace Assembly for K-3 students to learn about and sing the Okinawan song ‘Gettou no hana’. This was a moving experience and I hope that the younger students can absorb the importance and beauty of the song.
Peace week culminated in a Peace Week assembly on Friday June 26th. This was an opportunity to gather all students in the gym and review what they have learnt: commemorate the Battle of Okinawa and appreciate the peace we have. We decided to bookend the gathering with a song from the Okinawan band ‘Sango’ titled ‘Inochi no relay’. This song was chosen because it depicts exactly the ‘appreciate peace’ theme we are trying to convey to students. After watching an emotional animation that reflects the lyrics to the song, students (and foreign teachers who can’t understand Japanese) could gain a clear understanding of the song’s meaning.
All students sang the song ‘Hanamizuki’, which also ran in accordance with our studies.
Next, students and all AMICUS staff participated in a ‘Peace Wrist Band Exchange’, whereby we all exchanged blue wristbands with a message of peace for our selected partners. The symbolism and positivity of this activity was very powerful and put a smile on everyone’s face.
We finished the assembly with a wonderful rendition of ‘Inochi no relay’ by three of our Junior High School students who were chosen from a field of ten applicants who wanted to perform the song. They did a marvelous job and it capped a very successful Peace Week.