Feature stories

Give peace a chance

Brooklyn students display their hope for a loving world

Teacher Aurora Goldman (left) and paraprofessional Kimberly Nisbett lead their p Jonathan Fickies

Teacher Aurora Goldman (left) and paraprofessional Kimberly Nisbett lead their prekindergartners into the schoolyard.

Teacher Maria Sanyshyn and her kindergartners show off their signs. Jonathan Fickies

Teacher Maria Sanyshyn and her kindergartners show off their signs.

Teacher Katia Cox marches around PS 208 with her pre-K students. Jonathan Fickies

Teacher Katia Cox marches around PS 208 with her pre-K students.

The teachers and parents gathered in the schoolyard of PS 208 in East Flatbush, Brooklyn, on Feb. 2 couldn’t help but tear up as the students sang Bob Marley’s “Three Little Birds,” in that heartbreaking way of small children.

Don’t worry about a thing

’Cause every little thing gonna be all right

The prekindergarten to 5th-graders marched around the city block, holding handmade signs bearing the words and symbols the children had chosen to communicate their hope for a loving world.

“They sang ‘Three Little Birds’ over and over, and it was just beautiful every time,” says pre-K teacher Katia Cox. “Children are hopeful and want to believe only in the good.”

Singing the sweet song of comfort was part of the school’s Peace Walk, which was coupled with a fundraiser to help buy desks for children in Africa. The PS 208 students are hardly privileged, but they were shocked to discover that some kids sit on dirt floors to learn.

“First they couldn’t believe such a thing,” Cox says. “Then they wanted to help.”

The children who could gave a dollar, and the parents who could gave $5.

“It made our children realize they had the power to help other children,” says kindergarten teacher Maria Sanyshyn. “They want a world filled with kindness and tolerance. It’s our job to set the example of what that looks like.”

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