The art of non-violence

24th March 2006 at 00:00
Recently our Year 6 took part in a project at the Livesey Museum in which they made a dove sculpture out of toy guns. The inspiration was the British Museum's "Throne of Weapons", which was on display at the Livesey. It is made of decommisioned guns from a Christian Aid-supported project in Mozambique which encourages ex-soldiers to hand in their weapons in exchange for ploughs and bicycles.

In a half-term workshop, children from many schools had made their own "Throne of Toy Weapons", and this too was on display. Our pupils' objective was to make a dove sculpture for Tony Blair in support of Global Gang's petition for peace -almost 4,000 children from around the world will send a message to Blair and Bush urging them "to do everything they can to make the world a peaceful place to live in".

We saw a video on the weapons amnesty inMozambique, and Christian Aid facilitators discussed choices - especially non-violent ones - with the children; eg they talked about how a family argument about who has the TV remote control might be resolved.

Pupils then made the peace dove by sticking war toys onto a base: some they had brought themselves and some had been donated to the museum. Pupils also accessed Global Gang's website to play educational games. The site also provides information on environmental and political issues for young children.

The video led to discussion on whether it was right to have guns - some children revealed they were aware of people who had them in their area.

They also discussed violence in PlayStation games and on TV. Pupils liked the idea that the dove would go to Tony Blair, who many saw as a remote figure.

Joanne Farquhar Year 6 teacher, Pilgrims Way School, Southwark

* 'Throne of Weapons' is touring secondary schools in the London borough of Camden from April to June and will then return to the British Museum. It will be at the Livesey Museum until August and will then be part of the Southwark Council collection www.the

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