On the second day of the Romanian Peace Forum, we had the opportunity to engage in dialogues relating to peace education at a young age. The initiative is based on the creation of an alternative school, called “The Green School”, which aims at implementing a democratic approach in the education system. We were asked to imagine a place where pre-school children have the opportunity to learn about the real world, by assuming various responsibilities, which can be concluded in creating a community and living in it.
While the school does abide by the state curriculum, the approach is extremely unconventional. The classes are done out of the classroom and “Into the Wild”. Children are exempted from the traditional separation between school and free time. This way, learning does not become a burden, but rather the privilege that it was always meant to be.
During the sessions, the participants were put in the shoes of kindergarten children. First, everyone had to think of a hero inspired from books, movies, cartoons, and so on. Afterwards, that hero had to be drawn on a sheet of paper, and placed beside each participant. That way, everyone had their hero beside each other. While discussing the concept of the “Green School”, everyone also had to engage in dialogues with each other’s hero. At the end, the participant formed two teams, and had the task of combining their heros to make one super-hero. With this accomplished, everyone had to identify one common problem related to peacekeeping in Romania. With the problem in mind, each team had to come up with solutions for it, but those solutions had to be thought of from the super-hero’s point of view.
This was an excellent example of what children participating in the “Green School” would be doing. This initiative, heavily inspired by the Finnish education system, but with a Romanian approach, is a prototype of what a healthy education system should look like, and how a democratic community should act.