Pinwheels for Peace

  • Sayville Middle School Art Students Join in Pinwheels for Peace Nationwide Project.


     Whirligigs of colorful exuberance, pinwheels are often associated with the innocence of childhood. However, for several years now, pinwheels have taken on a new meaning. Thanks to the efforts of the Pinwheels for Peace Project, they are visual statements, spinning ideas and general thoughts about the meaning of peace.


    “Peace is a state of calm and serenity, with no anxiety, the absence of violence, freedom from conflict or disagreement among people or groups of people.”


    Rather than a political movement, The Pinwheels for Peace Project attempts to raise awareness of this broad definition with students and the general community. “Peace doesn’t necessarily have to be associated with the conflict of war,” the pinwheelsforpeace website states. “It can be related to violence/intolerance in our daily lives, to peace of mind.  To each of us, peace can take on a different meaning, but, in the end, it all comes down to a simple definition.”


    For educators across the nation, the teachable message of “peace and serenity” by making pinwheels couldn’t be more fun. Last year, Sayville Art teacher Jen Berotti explored the Pinwheels for Peace Project with her high school students. This year, she expanded the scope of the project by incorporating all the Middle School Art teachers, Art students, and Art classes.


    Tying in the school’s anti-bullying policy with the call for tolerance and understanding, Ms Berotti, along with her colleagues Debra Urso, and Mary Troiano had their students prepare the construction of paper pinwheels in advance. During class time, the students decorated their pinwheels with symbols or messages of peace. While some students used words to express their feelings, others used pure design of color and form to show that respecting others was a very positive way of keeping peace in their school.  


    Once the Sayville Middle School art students assembled and “planted” their pinwheels outside the Middle School on September 22, the public installation/art exhibit began to perform. Spinning pinwheels caught by steady breezes played across the lawn.  In addition to these whirling blooms that created a colorful meadow in front of the school, the outline of a peace sign, composed of white-only pinwheels, was perhaps the most dramatic statement. The Sayville Middle School project did indeed stimulate thoughts of peace throughout the day.