South America: The Escola Barão do Rio Branco in Brazil

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“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.” (Colossians 3:15)


Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” (Matthäus 5,9).


Illuminated and motivated by these biblical words, Barão do Rio Branco School in Blumenau, Santa Catarina, with the school pastoral’s guidance reflected on the theme: “Education for Peace and Solidarity” between the 6th and 8th of March. The initiative began on the 6th due to the time of Lent where we´re expected to reflect on Jesus’ words and example who was a great proclaimer of peace and solidarity.

When we heard about the proposal of a participative event about peace and disagreement within protestant schools throughout the world – through GPENreformation named “Protestant Communities For Peace” – all the schools’ staff and students were motivated to reflect, discuss and take part in deeds and events for peace.

As pastor of the school, I took it upon myself to present the proposal and involve as many people as possible in this beautiful deed. So, in February of this year we thought up some activities that were later done by the teachers who wholeheartedly embraced this special cause.

Portuguese – Curricular Component

“With the intent of spreading peace in the school environment and motivating our students to develop harmonic and peaceful relationships, with the School Pastoral we developed in line with the “Education for Peace” deed the following project: “What takes my peace away”. Students were invited to reflect about this topic. Firstly, we debated about the students reflections and the exposed their frustrations about our society. After that, the students wrote reports about what was discussed and during the week of Peace in the school, they were responsible for one of the boards that presented the topic of the project. Our expectations of the project were surpassed and we felt proud to plant little seeds of peace that will certainly blossom and we´ll deep the benefits to come with a more fair, humble and conscientious society.” (Mr. Antônio da Rocha, teacher at Barão School)

Early Childhood Education at Barão School

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The early childhood education department executed the following deeds about the theme of Peace:

  • Reading, interpretation and illustration of the story: the Book of Peace by Todd Parr.
  • Fabrication of the Book the Peace with another draft of the images in this book.
  • Fabrication of the “merry go round of peace” like the one in the story.
  • Fabrication of the “tree of peace” with white doves.
  • The Song of Peace by Thelma Chan, sung by Nana Toledo.
  • Recording of the video singing the Song of Peace, sung by Nana Toledo.
  • Song and video of Peace, New Clothes
  • Hand paintings of doves of peace.
  • Theater shadow games representing a dove.
  • Peace Party

Mrs. Sônia Roders (Early Childhood Education Coordinator)

Barão Art and Culture Curricular Component

A study about Graphite and Urban Art was developed by the Art curricular component with the 9th grade students. This study was disseminated in a social critical universe and in this context, the “Education for peace” was visually rooted. The artists and art enthusiasts use their abilities and competences to spread the “peace effect”:  kindness and ethical values. After the Graphite contextualization, we listened to the the Kindness Prophet. Who was also present throughout the “t-shirt painting” activity. The construction of an “Education for peace” with the 8th and 7th grades was led through a conversation class in which each student tried to understand the meaning of peace, why to be in peace and what takes his or her peace away. Thus these activities led to a more social and collective overview.

Still on this theme “kindness generates kindness” we would like to share that our Barão Art and Culture developed a creative action that is occupying an alternative space of our school. This action is located on Block A, at the entrance of the footbridge. Also the students of the First Grade High School were invited to create a narrative that conceptualizes peace, kindness and our faith anchor. Moreover our instrumental ensemble has prepared with much praise a small repertoire that musically defines the feeling of peace.

The objective was to get to know the story of the composition of the song “Gentileza (kindness)” written by Marisa Monte. Marisa used to lend her musical art to honor a comum person called “Kindness Prophet” who used visual/ body language as a form of expression and communication. This project spread a movement of musical and visual listenings. We recreated the Kindness Prophet’s  thought process as well as his way of expression, by the use of songs and works of art that were displayed throughout the school during this special week of Peace and Solidarity. The enjoyment of this project was completed with a moment of reflection about the artist’s role when they donate their art to benefit charities or social organizations and how this contributes to greater purposes in communities, cities or even countries as well as inspiring others to do the same.

(Mrs. Suelen Junkes, Art teacher and responsible for the art and culture department at Barão School; Mrs. Andreia Rocinski, teacher at Barão School)

Religion – Curricular Component

Our 9th grade students were motivated to write poems about peace and solidarity  that were read by myself on the public sound system at school throughout the week of peace. All the morning and afternoon meditation moments conducted by the school pastor, were about peace and solidarity.

Personal Note

As I am writing this last paragraph I cannot help think of the recent tragedy at the school in Suzano, São Paulo where two young men that were alumni of that same school took the lives of eight people. Six of the victims were teenagers, who were at the time of the tragedy at school studying. Faced by this situation and so many others that come to mind, the importance of continuous reflection and partaking in deeds and events that practice peace inside and outside of the school environment, becomes even clearer.

We thank God for having had the opportunity for all we did and we pray that our actions have entered the hearts of our students, who are considered fertile land to reap great fruitage in the a beautiful garden of peace.

May God firmly lead us in the proposal’s direction.

Have a look at all photos and videos of the peace days here…

The text was written by Gilson Ricardo Hoepfner, pastor of the IECLB (Igreja Evangélica de Confissão Luterana no Brasil) – Blumenau Santa Catarina, who is responsible for the school pastoral of the Barão do Rio Branco School.