The Vilamoura International School (CIV) presented earlier this month the results of a research project underway in the kindergarten in the context of ‘Education for Peace’ at the 4th International Congress of Pedagogy in Braga.
The meeting was organised by the Faculty of Philosophy and Social Sciences of the Braga Regional Centre, the Catholic University of Portugal, the Pontifical Gregorian University, and the University of Deusto, in partnership with the Centre for Philosophical and Humanistic Studies and the Foundation for Science and Technology.
“This conference aims to provide an opportunity for the presentation and discussion of work and research on the place and role of education in the promotion and implementation of social, cultural and political justice, as well as human rights in a critical and transforming perspective,” said the school.
It gathered many university researchers from Portugal, Spain, Brazil, Italy, Lithuania, Angola and Mozambique, education professionals from pre-school, primary and secondary education, and personalities from the national and international political scene.
The conference, attended by Nobel Peace Prize winner José Ramos-Horta, was moderated by Professor João Duque.
Ramos-Horta proposed “a more committed investment in fraternity, in solidarity and in the creation of truly democratic political projects”.
The ‘Education for Peace’ project, presented by the Vilamoura International School, resulted from research that involved all kindergarten teachers, music and English teachers, librarians, technicians and assistants, students and their families.
This research, focusing on “the recognition of goodness in an open and multicultural educational environment”, uses the motto “Educating for Kindness” and aims to answer the initial question: “How can the educational environment promote an education for peace?”
The results of the research being carried out in the kindergarten, in a multicultural educational environment, where pupils and families from 24 different nationalities interact every day, clearly show that language and culture are not a barrier to peace and that the open educational environment, promoting autonomy, responsibility, respect, mutual help, peer cooperation among all those involved in the educational process, is an inspiring example for children.
The transfer of learning to the family was also visible through terminology and concrete actions, such as greater empathy and caring for others or care for nature and animals. Therefore, it is concluded that, as Thomas Lickona (development psychologist) argues, children’s capacity for kindness is born with them. However, the teams have found that it is necessary to cultivate it throughout life and from a very early age to reap the fruits in future society.