CARLSTADT, N.J. — State Assembly members Gary Schaer and Marlene Caride are honoring Carlstadt sixth-grade teacher Esther Fletcher on Thursday for helping foster a harmonious environment with her "peace by piece" program.
"I am so thrilled, particularly because the recognition will show that teachers do a lot more than just teach to the test," said Fletcher, who receive a ceremonial Assembly resolution from Schaer and Caride at Carlstadt Public School.
Her fellow colleagues' enthusiasm made the program successful, Fletcher said.
"They heard about it and jumped right on board ready to help create and expand and move this forward," she said.
"Peace by piece" is a movement that aims weave sympathy, empathy, realize, and mobilize into the curriculum.
"The idea being that if we can sympathize with how other people feel and empathize, we can realize there is a need for peace, and mobilize to take action," Fletcher said.
In action, the program involves second-graders reading peace songs and underlining the verbs and nouns and middle school students talking about slavery from the perspective of the slaves.
In only two months, Fletcher said the approach has helped create a "tenor of more harmonious thinking from the students."
"They are now surrounded by this message of being nicer to each other and I think they are excited about that," she said. "They like to promote the notion of peace."