How a game about making peace is changing lives

Yesterday while driving home with my daughter after one of her after school activities she mentioned that she was thinking it would be good to be a primary school teacher.

I asked her why primary school (equivalent to elementary school in US) and she said it is because kids between the ages of 5 and 10 are really good to work with and for schooling it was the longest they would spend at one place. I should point out that she is 11 and has only just moved on to an Intermediate (equivalent to a middle school in the US) and so she is not really entering the workforce any time soon.

Being a parent does sometimes have profound moments like this and I’m delighted she is thinking about something that helps others. One of the benefits of being a parent is re-experiencing these learning moments from their point of view and getting to know what each age group thinks as they move through the school years.

What if 10 year olds could teach us adults a few things about living and learning together?

John Hunter is a 4th grader teacher who decided to explore these ideas. ( Note: as best as I can tell 4th graders are aged between 9 & 10 ) and here is a TED clip on the World Peace game which he has been developing for 25+ years now.

“Accepting the reality of violence, he would seek to incorporate ways to explore harmony in various situations. This exploration would take form in the framework of a game ā€“ something that students would enjoy. Within the game data space, they would be challenged, while enhancing collaborative and communication skills.”

In 1978, at the Richmond Community High School, Hunter led the first sessions of his World Peace Game, a hands-on political simulation. The game has now been played around the world, on a four-tiered board. It’s the subject of the new film World Peace and Other 4th-Grade Achievements.

With so many other games out there for kids I like the idea that this one has made such a positive difference. As an adult I think we can and should learn from the choices our kids make and anything that encourages them to think past the obvious is to be encouraged.