Peace Education in the 21st Century: the benefits of teaching conflict transformation skills to Vermont students in a K-6 public school

Degree Name

MA in Intercultural Service, Leadership, and Management

First Advisor

Karen Blanchard


Peace education contributes to the social growth of all children if it helps them develop characteristics essential for the attainment of peace – a sense of dignity and self-worth, a confidence to question their values, communication skills, an ethical awareness, and an empathy for others. (Harris, p. 35)

This capstone paper outlines my work as a teacher in a Vermont Public School and my work as a peacebuilding trainer. Currently, I work full time in a southern Vermont Public School, spending half a day with a first grade class, and half a day with a fifth grade class. I also teach an afterschool program twice a week combining music, movement and stories with peace education. The school where I teach has nearly 400 students, is the largest elementary school in the district and serves the most disadvantaged of our area. It has been a rewarding experience.

My research question was how might a peace education unit benefit K-6 grade students at a public school in southern Vermont? I interviewed four afterschool program parents and five primary grade teachers. My research confirms the desire by both parents and teachers to include a peace education unit in the public schools, both during and afterschool. Eight out of nine respondents noted that students “couldn’t get enough of this type of education.” (see Data & Analysis)


Curriculum and Instruction | Peace and Conflict Studies

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