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Winter Highlights from The Blake School

By Nann Peterson
Hopkins, Minnesota

January 10-14th, 2011

First Grade Peace and Friendship Project in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr.

The Faculty at The Blake’s Lower School believes students learn through personal involvement and active engagement with people, places, things and ideas. Through hands-on exploration, interaction and dialogue with peers and adults, and reflection students construct their view of themselves, others and the world.

So, in early January when 80 first grade students were asked questions like, “What does it mean to be a friend? What is compassion and is compassion part of friendship?” the students began the process of learning friendship as an antidote to teasing and bullying. In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. The Blake School faculty encouraged students to accept themselves and others, by reflecting on the following questions, “What is peace? How does peace relate to friendship? How might my kind actions affect someone else?”  As the youngsters discussed their paths to peace they connected their own understanding with the understanding of others and created the posters that they shared latter at a school assembly.

January 20th, 2011

Six Billion Paths to Peace Family Service Night

The Blake Lower School families warmed the cold Minnesota evening with the Six Billion Paths to Peace Family Service Night. Lead by Dr. Jenny Friedman, the Executive Director of Doing Good Together, participants engaged in various service opportunities while discussing issues of peace, hunger, homelessness, literacy, health, and the elderly.

Following both the vision of Doing Good Together and the Shinnyo-en Foundation, the evening’s focus was on peace through service to build a culture of family service, so that every child grows up knowing that the world is a better place when we help out one another.

The evening service opportunities included making 40 fleece blankets for Project Linus and Bridging, preparing 350 sandwiches for Simpson Housing Shelter, constructing 100 bookmarks for Light of Hope Children’s Center in Kenya, designing 100 placemats and food bags for Meals on Wheels, writing 50 letters to sick children through Make a Child Smile, repackaging 350 bags of rice for Centro Latino Food Shelf, and creating a personal bead peace bracelet to remind each child of their Path to Peace.

Altogether the evening was fun and fruitful bringing into practice a culture of peace through service at Blake and beyond.

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