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Play is a natural way for children to learn and have fun. When playing with children or supporting them in free play, there are opportunities for parents, teachers, and caregivers to teach peacemaking skills. The basic concepts and creative activities presented here focus on how children play by incorporating the peacemaking skills of empathy, conflict resolution, trust and refection. This is the foundation of a compassionate community.
So, how do play and peace go together?
How do you make a play experience turn into a peacemaking lesson?
How does a child learn compassion and kindness in the midst of fun and games?
How can play possibly be a way to teach a child to express his or her feelings?
While we play, in the midst of the experience, there will be opportunities to teach peacemaking skills. Those teachable moments can be considered peacemaking opportunities. You may start with an agenda for play; however, you might veer away from that plan when the children bring their own dynamics to the game. Peacemaking and compassion work are more important than the games. How you play matters more than what you play (safety concerns aside). The games are the means to learning skills for life. The games are the avenue to the expression of creativity. If you are going to play with children or support them in their free play, the concepts in this book can be the foundation on which you can build a compassionate community. The specifics of the games are secondary to these concepts. In a sense, you will have two bags of tricks: the concepts in one bag and the games in the other.