When I visited The Coombs CE Primary School for a World Outside the Classroom conference, the morning and afternoon activities began with a symbolic releasing of doves.
Like every other event, this was regarded as an excellent learning opportunity for the children. Before the doves were released, every child held a dove.
The journey home was traced on a map and children had to work out the distance “as the crow flies” compared to the distance by road. Thanks to AA route finder and Google Earth and its ruler tool, these calculations can be quickly accessed. An extra challenge was made by creating the journey as a jigsaw for children to piece together.
Each class had made a beautiful banner to celebrate the doves arrival in the school. The children made their own dove template and drew round this with a black permanent marker pen. This was then coloured white using wax crayons on the front and back of the material. Each banner was dyed a different colour and displayed around the school grounds.
The children gathered outside in the playground to watch the doves being released. It happened so quickly I couldn’t capture the moment on camera! They were keen to escape!
Afterwards every child drew a dove on the tarmac using chalk. Even the adults joined in. Some classes had also looked at work by Picasso and other artists who have used birds in symbolic ways in their drawing.
Peace is a theme that pervades the ethos of the school, with inscriptions such as this in the playground slabs:
If you are interested, there is a world-wide Project Pigeon Watch programme being run from Cornell University. Doves and pigeons are closely related so I thought I’d slip this in. You can download a variety of resources and find out lots of information about these birds.
For peace resources, have a look at the Peace One Day website. However please let me know if there are other ones you have used and would recommend.