PUBLISHED SEPT. 29, 2016
By LOIS KINDLE
It’s not every day you see children participating in a peaceful demonstration. But on Sept. 21, the students of Apollo Beach Elementary, along with their teachers and the school’s staff, did just that.
As they have done for the past 10 years, they planted more than 700 brightly colored pinwheels on the grassy area in front of the school in observance of the International Day of Peace, also known as World Peace Day.
The planting was the culmination of an annual four-week art project called Pinwheels for Peace, taught by the school’s art teacher Margit Redlawsk.
In her 30-minute classes, Redlawsk provided instruction on the standards of design, including radial symmetry, lines and shapes, balance and color, while sharing lessons on the elements of peace, including love, cooperation, harmony and tolerance.
To make their pinwheels, children in grades K-5 colored designs on one side of small paper squares, and then wrote words describing their feelings about peace on the opposite side. The squares were subsequently folded into pinwheels and fastened to pencil posts with tacks.
“We are a National School of Character, so we’re always focusing on the importance of having good character,” said school principal Kelly McMillan. “The International Day of Peace is an opportunity for us to emphasize the importance of tolerance, which is at the heart of having peaceful relationships with each other.”
McMillan said in addition to the academic foundation the school’s teachers provide, their jobs include helping students become good people, and Pinwheels for Peace is an example of the kind of teaching tools they use to accomplish both.
Pinwheels for Peace is a nonpolitical, visual statement of peace made on International Peace Day using millions of pinwheels, large and small, in countries throughout the world. The project was started in 2005 by art teachers Ann Ayers and Ellen McMillan, of Monarch High School in Coconut Creek.
Observed annually on Sept. 21, International Day of Peace was established in 1981 by a unanimous United Nations’ resolution. It is devoted to the idea of promoting and strengthening the ideals of peace among nations and individuals.