WHAT is PEACE Ontario?
P.E.A.C.E. Ontario is a network of traditional-faith community groups positively engaging with their local public schools to create:
- improved understanding of the learning needs of children being raised in faith families,
- a safe and friendly education environment where students (including traditional faith students) may achieve their maximum potential.
- a more inclusive school environment.
Many faith parents, with children in the public schools, leave the public education system because curriculum content and the school environment can be perceived as unfriendly to people who subscribe to a traditional faith perspective. Many families who do not have the means to access education alternatives (private schools, home schooling) have communicated similar concerns. This concern is universal amongst traditional faith groups. One of the major stumbling blocks between the faith groups and schools is poor communication. As a result the needs of all students are not being addressed.
P.E.A.C.E. was created to assist Judeo-Christian families (and other faiths that share similar principles) to work co-operatively with schools in creating educational choices that lead to more positive learning environments.
Our vision is for all children to receive quality education, in an environment that is respectful of the diversity of cultures and traditional faith backgrounds of their families, creating an environment of trust and unity, where schools and families work together to help our children succeed.
- Host training/information sessions for families to develop understanding of potentially offensive lesson content.
- Educating school officials and teachers about sensitive curriculum topics for students and staff who subscribe to a traditional Judeo-Christian faith (and other traditional faiths as these begin to partner with P.E.A.C.E.).
- Provide a communication tool that faith families may use to share their religious tenets, doctrines, and observances and the contexts of learning that would be sensitive, and possibly of a nature that the children are required to abstain.
- Provide a structure within which families feel comfortable communicating (e.g., collection forms in the community and having a faith leader and retired principle meet with the principal to begin the dialogue.
- Assist the school to communicate with parents when sensitive content is present.
- Discuss with families various ways they may take responsibility for the learning without placing increased stress on the teacher to create alternative assignments
- Talk with child about what they will be learning and help them to understand how this applies to them as a child of faith living in a pluralistic world.
- Schedule an appointment so the child is not present.
- Have a PEACE Education committee create appropriate alternative assignments that help the child to achieve the expectations, but within a context that is not offensive
- Connecting with other faiths who share similar principles, and co-operatively engaging with schools.
- Developing, along with school staff, religious accommodations that address sensitive lesson content for all students.
- Providing educational aids (alternative assignments) that encourage students to make faith connections to academic learning in the public school system.
- Providing successful anti-bullying programs that address the needs of all students.
How – DNA, and Practice of PEACE Ontario:
As we empower families to communicate, build positive relationships with schools, and advocate for their children by sharing their values and faith, we are guided by __________________ principles.
We are people of blessing toward the D.O.E. and our community schools. “Freely we have received, freely we give” (Matthew 10:8). We follow the pattern of blessing that Jesus sent the 72 out with in Luke 10. . .
- Speak peace and blessings — “speak peace to this house” 10:5
- Build relationships — “stay there, eat what they give you” 10:7 Eating a meal together was one of the highest signs of fellowship in Jewish culture.
- Meet their needs — “heal the sick” 10:9
- Proclaim God’s truth — “proclaim the kingdom of God has come near you” 10:9
- We seek to bless and serve our community schools.
- We seek to be an asset to our schools (i.e. to assist with supplemental materials and curriculum).
- We live in a pluralistic society, we seek to communicate the Christian needs of our children in a positive and winsome way.
- We are non-partisan.
Short Term Goal: The first steps of the P.E.A.C.E. Ontario initiative is to have a pastor and a retired principal meet with the school principal of at least 3 schools in school board district to communicate the following:
- We have a community of people wanting to help the school become the best it can be.
- We have a number of resources that may be helpful to the school (Light Up Your World, Kindness Project, alternative lessons, etc).
- We have an intercessor prayer team praying for the school.
- The people take their faith seriously and understand that the school, in an effort to address the needs of various groups in a pluralistic society, may need to bring in lessons that are sensitive, even in conflict, with the values of other families.
- These families understand and are asking that the school inform them before instruction so that they may work with the child to help them to understand how this information applies to them as a person of faith living in a pluralistic/secular society. If the lessons is too sensitive, the parents may keep the child home that day.
- To collect Parent Communication Forms from at least 20 families per school in the school board district.
Note: Education outside the home is an agreement to partner in the training of your child, however, parents are still responsible for what the child is taught.
“Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.” (Proverbs 22:6 ~ NIV)
Begin a P.E.A.C.E. Chapter in Your Community
Inform, Motivate and Equip families with the information and tools to advocate for their children!