With Folkhälsan as the core organizer, the Åland Islands Peace Institute, Save the Children, and the Department for Education at the local government are cooperating in order to promote ‘Peace in Schools’. ‘Peace in Schools’ is intended to highlight how important it is that everyone involved in school life work together for a humane educational environment.
The purpose of jointly proclaiming ‘Peace in Schools’ and adopting a joint declaration for the school year is to emphasize that everyone at school has a right to a safe and equal learning environment, without bullying and sexual harassment. The aim is also to highlight the school’s operating culture and the physical and psychological security in school. Finally, the purpose is to stress the responsibility of the individual student, the teacher, the home and the staff in the maintaining of friendships and friendly relations in the school.
In 2009-2010 ‘Peace in Schools’ was proclaimed on the 28th of August on the main square in Mariehamn, and throughout the year themes and activities aimed at preventing bullying and promoting tolerance will be emphasized.
The Step-By-Step Method
Since the end of 2008 the Åland Islands Peace Institute has arranged courses in the Step-by-Step method. Step-by-Step is an educational programme for pre-schools and primary schools aimed at advancing students’ social and emotional competence and preventing violence. Social and emotional skills are to be taught and trained in similar ways as other skills. With the help of this programme the home and the pre-school/primary school/after-school meet around desired norms and values. Step-by-Step is pedagogically inclined and easy to use, but at the same time developed on the basis of genuine theoretical foundations and scientifically tested with very positive results. Step-by-Step is available for children in the age groups of 1-3 years, 4-6 years, 7-8 years, 9-10 years and 12-15 years. Contact the project manager, Sarah Stephan, for more information on sarah[at]peace.ax.
Evaluation of courses in peace education
The Åland Islands Peace Institute has evaluated its educational activities for teachers within the projects “Fredsfostran” (foster peace) and “Skolfred” (peace in schools) which took place between 2005 and 2008. The results have been published in a report by Sanna Roos, PhD candidate in pedagogies at the University of Turku. Read the complete report (in Swedish) here.