War Toys Amnesty Pack

Published on Friday October 22 2004
 

This set of materials offers a structured programme for 6 weeks/a half-term. It progresses through a range of activities culminating in a war toys amnesty action with one follow-up session. The action you decide to take depends on you and your group.

Introduction

November 11 2000 was the date on which the UN launched both a year and a decade for a Culture of Peace.  The period from Remembrance Day to Christmas is a particularly appropriate time to develop a war toys amnesty action.  This action pack is a contribution to that.

In autumn 1999 the Peace Pledge Union [PPU] launched their Children and War project. This looks at how children are brought up in a culture which promotes violence and war as normal and inevitable.  As a movement committed to education for social change, the Woodcraft Folk has a duty to address this. 

The idea for a war toys amnesty emerged out of the feeling that it is not enough to educate people about what ‘bad news’ war is.  It is also important to teach about the creativity made possible by peace.  Peace as a positive process rather than a dulling absence.

At the Annual Gathering 2000 there was a workshop to discuss the idea. It was decided that the war toys amnesty would work best within the context of a programme of sessions which would raise awareness of what is positive about peace.  There are all kinds of important issues around war - child soldiers, refugees, the arms trade and environmental damage - to name a few.  Awareness of these issues is vital but can be soul-destroying.  The aim of this action pack is to counter that feeling by empowering young people.  Things can be different.

There are events and material around to plug in to and a raised media awareness of peace issues.  See “Resources” sheet for details of who to contact.

Group leaders should be clear in advance about why they are running this programme, what the key issues are and how they are going to respond to any distress that some children may experience in working with the emotive themes and images of war.

This set of materials offers a structured programme for 6 weeks/a half-term.  It progresses through a range of activities culminating in a war toys amnesty action with one follow-up session. The action you decide to take depends on you and your group. 

It could be a group night activity for your group alone; you could expand it by inviting friends, parents and carers; you could get together with an older or younger Woodcraft Folk group in your District to run a joint event; you could organise a District-wide event, bringing all groups together and inviting the local media and dignitaries; you could plan a high-profile public activity, alone or with other Woodcraft Folk groups or other organisations. The programme is particularly aimed at children aged between 8 and 12. 

Each sheet consists of a plan of activity for a group meeting of about an hour. This should leave you time for games, songs and announcements. The sessions have been planned by different people in differing styles. Some sheets have plenty of detail including notes for group leaders on preparations and timings. Others have broad ideas for you to develop. Some sessions will require advanced preparation.

There are 2 recommended ways of organising the programme.  Work through in the order on the contents pages with the games session on week 1 running through to drama follow-up on week 6.  Or start with storytelling and do either of the games sessions in week 4 in its place.  However you do it, allow enough time for planning and preparing the event and don’t forget the follow-up.