Across the world, many nations are engaged in political conflicts. At the same time, millions of paper pinwheels emblazoned with childrens’ messages of peace and hope spin worldwide, in places like South America, the Middle East, and even Mantua, Ohio. Last Friday, Crestwood students from kindergarten through grade five planted hand-made pinwheels at Crestwood Intermediate & Primary Schools to help commemorate the International Day of Peace.
Pinwheels for Peace is an art installation project started nine years ago by teachers in Florida as a way for students to express their feelings about what was happening in their lives, and in the world around them. In the first year of the project, groups in over 1,325 locations around the world were spinning nearly 500,000 pinwheels on the International Day of Peace. Last year, over four million pinwheels were spinning in over 3,500 locations, including the United States, Europe, Asia, Australia, Canada, the Middle East, Africa and South America.
Locally, School Counselor Gary Traveny coordinated the project. He explained, “This project is non-political. Peace doesn’t necessarily have to be associated with the conflict of war, it can be related to violence or intolerance in our daily lives.” To participate, each student created a pinwheel; one side features their thoughts on peace, tolerance, and living in harmony, they drew images to express their feelings on the opposite side.
The school-wide program was held outdoors on a crisp, autumn day and featured student-read poetry and music performed by the fifth grade choir. Afterwards, students planted their pinwheels around the grounds of Crestwood’s Primary and Intermediate Schools. In addition, children received a special bookmark to remember their part in supporting “whirled peace.”