Made of Peace Program

Our goal in Made of Peace is to help children find peace and strength from within through artistic expression and global connection.

Why now?

  • Children are being exposed to high levels of stress and conflict, without being given support or tools to manage their feelings.
  • Our education system is outdated, built on a factory model and meant to control people, not educate creative, critically-thinking, and self-directed individuals.
  • Suicides, school shootings, and cyber bullying show us that something is going wrong in how we, as a global community, are raising our children.

Why children?

Researchers are continuing to discover the importance of social and emotional literacy.

  • Children are forming their concepts of self, the world around them, and their place in the world. This is their foundation for the rest of their lives.
  • Quality education, mental training, and supporting families can produce positive results and effect the rest of a child’s life.

Impact of Early Intervention on Physchopathology, Crime, and Well-being at Age 25
http://ajp.psychiatryonline.org/toc/ajp/current
Center for Investigating Healthy Minds, Waisman Center UW Madison

From the mouths of children…

“We are not the source of problems; we are the resources that are needed to solve them… We are not just young people; we are the people and citizens of this world. Until others accept their responsibility to us, we will fight for our rights. We have the will, the knowledge, the sensitivity and the dedication. We promise that as adults we will defend children’s rights with the same passion that we now have as children… We are the children of the world, and despite our different backgrounds, we share a common reality. We are united by our struggle to make the world a better place for all. You call us the future, but we are also the present.”

-Gabriela Azurduy Arrieta (13, Bolivia), Audrey Cheynut (17, Monaco)
2002 UN General Assembly Special Session on Children

Creating Minds

“Like constructing a house, brains are built on a strong foundation. This starts before birth and is very important during the first three years of life. Brain cells are raw materials much like lumber is a raw material in building a house, and the child’s experiences and interactions help build the structure, put in the wiring, and paint the walls.”

Judith Graham, the University of Maine

Creating Solutions: our curriculum

By creating and implementing a progressive, integrated, world curriculum we seek to empower children.

  • Woven into our emotional-based-learning curriculum are the practices of yoga, meditation and mindfulness, creating inner peace as we learn about peace builders from around the world. Children study world cultures, current events, and geography, and are encouraged to be curious – nurturing the ability to ask questions and create dialogue.
  • This curriculum can be introduced in any type of educational environment, public or private, for any age group, anywhere in the world.

Creating Solutions: artistic expression

By educating children in artistic expression, we give them a voice to express their emotions.

  • Art is the universal language that unites us, communicating truths and emotions.
  • By connecting educators, they will gain tools to share with their students and with the families they serve.
  • Arts have been tied to improvement in health. Artistic engagement is connected to psychosocial and biological manifestations in children and adults.

Creating Solutions: artistic connection

By creating a positive, family-friendly, technology-based platform to share their art, we give children an opportunity to connect with other children around the world.

  • By giving children a global connection, we help them to see themselves in their home community and the world beyond it.
  • By building relationships with people from other places and cultures, we combat prejudice and children act from knowledge and acceptance rather than fear. Children share the knowledge they gain with their families, and communities become stronger and healthier as well.

Creating Solutions: building mindfulness

By building mindfulness, we give children self-soothing and healthy coping skills in their early years to use for a lifetime, giving them a lifelong gift that will seep into other areas of their growth.

By building emotional awareness, children are able to recognize and confront their feelings as they experience their world. We will not sidestep conflicts. In the end, children must learn to think, feel, and judge for themselves.

This gives children a safe and secure foundation, on which to build empathy, compassion, and respect.

Accountability and Outcomes

We believe in the importance of holding ourselves accountable and meeting the goals we set. We will
measure our success based on:

  • Spread of curriculum around the world
  • Amount teachers learn in workshops
  • Amount of schools committed to the program
  • How many times the app is downloaded
  • Engagement metrics of the app

About River Song School and Robin Johnson

River Song School is a non-profit Montessori school in Bend, Oregon, serving children from 2-9.

It was founded in 2009 by Robin Johnson, an educator in arts and Montessori for over 20 years, and an advocate for children and for peace. Robin is also an expert in the field of non-profit management. She is inspired by the creativity of children. She serves as the director of River Song School.

My Window Article
Animal Spirit at Paul Scott Gallery

River Song School Mission Statement

River Song School exists to ensure every child has the opportunity to become a self-directed learner, capable of critical thinking and exercising compassion to themselves and the greater community around them. Founded in the principles of the Montessori approach, River Song meets each child at their own unique point of development and provides an environment focused on academic engagement through the exploration of the arts, global and cultural awareness, peace and sustainability.  River Song is dedicated to exploring and developing progressive program opportunities to meet the needs of the whole child.