School peace is everybody's responsibility

School peace for the beginning school year will be declared in Vantaa on August 22. For the first time, the event also includes Early Childhood Education and secondary education students. The theme of the School Peace program for the beginning school year is You can make an impact. - Just a smile goes a long way. The theme strives to emphasize how each child and young person can—by even small deeds—contribute to the creation of a safe school atmosphere.

The young persons belonging to the School Peace working group actively plan and implement the Declaration of School Peace event, as well as the 2018-2019 school-peace work. As in earlier years, this year’s working group consists of Vantaa students in elementary and junior high schools, as well as secondary education students. In addition, the working group has representatives of Early Childhood Education. This is the first time that Early Childhood Education and secondary education students participate more extensively in planning School Peace and in the declaration event.

“We wished to present all ways of influencing in this year’s Declaration of School Peace. Not all people are the same, which is why the ways of influencing vary,” says Matilda Hoviniemi, a former student of Peltola school, currently in high school.

“Influencing also comprises everyday deeds such as smiling and saying ‘Hi,’ which can really brighten up another person's day,” adds Lotta Niemi, a 9th-grader at Helsinge Skola.

The young themselves compile the annually changing Declaration of School Peace; ideas for the text were gained from the School Peace wellbeing questionnaire, which showed that many students do not know how they can make an impact. That's why School Peace is highlighting different ways for children and the young to make an impact.

Sense of community prevents bullying

School peace will not come true by the mere efforts of teachers and students: parents, too, can participate in bolstering the sense of community in their children's schools.

“Parents play an important role in promoting wellbeing at school. Networking with other parents and getting to know school employees increase the sense of community and are the best way to prevent bullying. Parents can also ensure that themes related children's wellbeing and safety are handled in PTA meetings and lessons,” says Ulla Siimes, operative manager at the Finnish Parents' League.

One of the aims of school peace is that all members of the school community feel good in their own educational institution. “In Vantaa, wellbeing constitutes one strategic focus.” We work to ensure that nobody be left alone or bullied in school. School peace ideally supports our wellbeing work in basic education. During the next few years, we will focus on strengthening students’ social skills and emotional skills, which is likely to affect how well school peace is deemed to have succeeded,” says Tuija Harakka, chief school psychologist at the City of Vantaa.

School peace for the 2018-2019 school year will be declared on Wednesday, August 22, at 10:00-10:45. Children and young people from all Vantaa schools and day-care centers have been invited to the event. The Declaration of School Peace was written by Vantaa youth. Additional performers at the event are Kalevauva.fi, Idols winner Anniina Timonen, and Tanhupallo. President Sauli Niinistö will send his video greetings to the event.

You can view the event in real-time online at: www.koulurauha.fi

The School Peace program—that aims to promote wellbeing and safety in the school community—is a joint program between Mannerheim League for Child Welfare, the National Police Board, the Finnish National Board of Education, Folkhälsan, and the Finnish Parents' League. Key principles of the program consist of students’ participation, sense of community, and doing together. The aim is that all members of the school community feel good in school. Learning-supportive, safe and functional school demands active work throughout the school year. www.koulurauha.fi

Published: 20.8.2018 
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