Growing Communities for Peace (GCFP) is a nonprofit organization that has a long history of providing comprehensive peace education through written materials, including a curriculum that served over 13,000 schools worldwide (published in 1995), classroom programs, and parent and teacher education. Beginning in 1982, as a peace preschool, the programs have evolved over the years. Currently, our focus is on children’s books and music on various topics that are necessary for peacebuilding and peace literacy.
Our first children's book,The Barnyard Buddies STOP for Peace; includes a teen/adult mentor delivery system, so overwhelmed early childhood and K through 3rd grade teachers don't have more demands on them. It is an engaging, read-aloud story with outstanding illustrations that provides young children with the skills for peaceful conflict resolution through the STOP for Peace process. The STOP process is
S, Stop and breathe,
T, Tell how you feel,
O, Open your mind, and
P, Plan a deal.
This simple process aims to show children that, even if it's not common at home or with friends, when angry, they can STOP and breathe, rather than act in ways that hurt others. Music for children goes with this story. It includes short dialogues and songs for each step. All these materials come from our project Smart Tools for Life and our author and singer/songwriter Julie Penshorn.
The original and comprehensive mentor program is detailed at the end of the book so any community can implement the process.This mentoring process is included in all our upcoming books as well.
The second children's book, I Can See Peace, was written with the idea that children need to be able to see and experience peace in order to imagine it. When they can imagine it, they can seek it, find it, and wage more of it. This lovely book is a must-read for all children and adults, but is especially useful for those who have experienced trauma (isn't that all children?), have suffered/do suffer from a health issue or disability, or have experienced bullying. It is also a wonderful recovery book for adults, offering hope and peace. Get either or both books on Amazon. Find the link here: https://www.smarttoolsforlife.com/products.
Our next works, The Barnyard Buddies Meet a Refugee & The Barnyard Buddies Dig Up the Truth address current events in age-appropriate, heart-melting, peacebuilding ways that make complicated environmental and displacement issues simple and relatable for the children.
We are currently raising money for publishing those works.