Saturday, October 19, 2013

Pinwheels for Peace, a belated post

For several years in my school district, my art students participated in the global project called Pinwheels for Peace, under my direction, on the International Day of Peace.  I posted about our participation here and here.  Now that I am retired, I thought it would be fun to get a different group of children involved in this terrific (non-political) activity, which, by the way, was originated by two art teachers. (Aren't we great?!)

I am an active member of our community's small Reform Jewish congregation.  My son attended the Temple's religious school during his youth.  My son is now grown, but as I said, our congregation is small, so I still know  the people involved with the Temple's religious school.  The current principal of the religious school just happens to also be the mom of a group of adorable young triplets, who also just happen to share a birthday with my son, though 19 years apart.  When I proposed the Pinwheels for Peace project to her, she was enthusiastic, and so, during the first religious school class of the school year, the kids learned about the project, discussed the meaning of the word Peace (as defined from the Pinwheels for Peace website: "a state of calm and serenity, with no anxiety, the absence of violence, freedom from conflict or disagreement among people or groups of people")  and decorated their pinwheel paper.  There are only approximately 20 kids in the school, so I brought home the artwork and assembled the pinwheels for the following class.

Here is the youngest class, with their teacher (who happens to be a former religious school classmate of my son!) and a teenage helper.  They are working very hard on their pinwheels.
The two girls in the front of the photo above are two-thirds of the triplets, and the third triplet is this handsome young man below. Besides sharing birthdays with my son, his first name is also the same as my son's!  What a fun coincidence!   Nice coloring job!
 More youngsters, hard at work.
During religious school on Sunday, September 22 (actually a day after the official International Day of Peace), we took the children outside to 'plant' their pinwheels in front of the sukkah, a temporary outdoor structure built as part of the celebration of the Jewish holiday of Sukkot.  Each student stated what Peace meant to him or her as they did their planting.  It was lovely out, but rain was anticipated later in the day, so the pinwheels were taken back inside, and displayed planted in baskets for everyone to see.  Several days later, with better weather, the pinwheels were replanted outdoors, this time near the road to be seen by passersby.
Above:  In front of the sukkah, getting ready to 'plant'. 
(That's me in the dark pink, and that's our Rabbi on the left. )
 Above, two young sisters take turns proudly planting their pinwheels.  
Below, one of the triplets enjoys a little time to run with her pinwheel!
 As a matter of fact, all the kids enjoyed running time, watching their pinwheels spin!

Next year, we'll do it again; bigger and better!!  I'm looking into materials for making weather-proof pinwheels. 


  1. In case you notice - I was fooling around with my blog background and seem to have wipe out a lot of my color scheme. Oops... Give me a few days - I'll figure it out!

  2. Hi Phyl
    Love the idea of pinwheels for peace at a religious school.
    What do you think of outdoor origami paper for your pinwheels next year? I have never tried it, and it is a little pricey, but it is made to fold and its water resistant.

  3. We have participated in the pinwheel project, too. It is always moving to me to see kid-made installations, so I loved seeing your kids' having so much fun. It is always powerful when groups get together to produce a common goal. I think these projects teach kids a lot about cooperation and community involvement!!

  4. I've always wanted to do this...thank you for the inspiration! Maybe I'll give it a go this spring, what a great project!

    1. Thanks, Cassie. The International Day of Peace is on September21st so if you want to participate in the actual Pinwheels for Peace international project, that's really the best time to do it! You can go to the website galleries and see pinwheel installations from every corner of the world! So
      cool! And you can upload your own pics to. The gallery too!