Return to Headlines

Miller Heights Elementary Students Plant Pinwheels for Peace

Ms. Ferguson's class

When Jaime Ferguson’s class of third graders filed out the front doors of Miller Heights Elementary School on Friday morning, they were on a mission — to promote peace, one pinwheel at a time.

Ferguson’s students, along with other classes at Miller Heights, were participating in Pinwheels for Peace, an art installation project where people “plant” paper pinwheels decorated with messages of peace. The worldwide project coincides with the International Day of Peace each year on Sept. 21.

“What does peace mean to you,” Ferguson asked her students before they planted their pinwheels in the damp soil in front of the school. The responses came in bursts:

“No fighting.” 

“Being calm.”

“Be nice.”

For Munirah Tarver, the school’s counselor, starting this discussion is what the project is all about.

“It’s a time for them to think of practical ways they can be at peace with one another,” Tarver said. “That’s really how we get worldwide peace is on an individual level. When they get older they can transfer those skills.”

Third-grader Emma Noyola, 8, colored a watermelon and picnic scene on her pinwheel.

“It’s two of my favorite things, and it’s peaceful,” she said.

Her classmate, Allie Velo, drew a peace sign and a mask on hers.

“Peace means being nice to other people even when they’re not nice,” said Velo, 8.

Tarver, who has led the project at Miller Heights for the last five years, is happy to see the yard fill with spinning pinwheels each year. 

“If we learn peace when we’re little, it comes more naturally when we’re older,” she said. “It’s not necessarily intuitive, but it can be taught.”

See more photos at https://flic.kr/s/aHsmQYwH6W

September 25, 2020