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A Special Session on Culture Building in the Philippines

“Participants have better awareness of the school’s culture and they come up with collaborative actions for them to move forward as one community of educators.” - Richard Delos Reyes, Play for Peace Trainer, Philippines

Cooperative play can be a useful tool, not just in building the confidence of a child, but in creating a richer culture for a whole community where individuals feel accepted, valued, and empowered. On June 10, a Play for Peace session entitled “Culture Building” was held at one of the partner schools of Play for Peace in the Philippines. A total of 53 participants attended a special session at Argao National High School, Canbanua, Argao, Cebu. Richard Delos Reyes, Play for Peace Cebu trainer, led the activity for old and new faculty teachers of the public school for they to have a better understanding of the school’s culture and to increase collaboration and unity among the staff to be able to teach with excellence. This major team-building event for Argao NHS teachers was held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

Cooperative games included activities to help them get to know each other, develop awareness of the school environment to protect its identity and promote peace among students and teachers.  This activity has greatly helped the new educators to be reminded of their impact and contribution to the school.  Cooperative play encouraged them to support each other to build a positive culture for Argao National High School. Richard, or Chad, along with other Play for Peace youth facilitators from the country’s Queen of the South, initiated practicing friendship and camaraderie during play sessions.  The facilitators ranging from 17 to 19 years old happened to be the school’s alumni. Because of the Practice Peace Sessions, these youth were able to reconnect with some of their former teachers. “When I saw them facilitating the sessions, I saw pure passion and love for Play for Peace,” Chad said. Who said that Practice Peace Sessions are just for kids?  The activity on culture building for the simple yet growing public school had its influence on teachers ages 24 to 60. Youth facilitators observed the participants who were like kids, playing with freedom.  They noticed how the sessions opened doors to learning something new, especially with mature and experienced educators. 

The Play for Peace Practice Peace Session helped them realize that they can move forward as one. Only a year after completing the Play for Peace training certification program, Chad has shown his strong commitment to pursuing peace and youth leadership.  His palpable pursuit to train the youth of Argao is evident in the continuous leadership pieces of training, programs, and camps he conducts for student leaders of several public schools in his hometown.  As a Lead Convener of the Alliance of Argawanon Young Leaders (AAYL), he sets the direction to build a culture of excellence and collaboration among the new teachers.  He believes that the students and teachers need to uphold the values of the school such as adaptability to changes and new sets of learning, academic excellence, and development of talents. Unity is of prime importance as the new breed of Argao National High School teachers start the year teaching, preparing, and building the hearts and minds of these young learners towards facing an even more challenging future. 

The Play for Peace sessions have helped them see their crucial roles as models of peace and teamwork at school. Teachers, acting as second parents of students, need to prepare the next generation.  Teachers are instrumental in training the next set of leaders.  Their incomparable dedication to their work and the nobility of their profession help in molding the character of the youth.  Through Play for Peace sessions, Argao National High School teachers experienced the joy of being young kids again and in that way, they were able to understand and find their playful side.  After all, they need to be creative and fun as teachers.  And the Practice Peace Sessions taught them that. Here are some of the pictures from the sessions. ANHS2    ANHS1-1ANHS8-1ANHS5ANHS4-1 ANHS9-1ANHS10-1ANHS7-1