Parenting for Peace

Friends School of Portland’s Parenting for Peace program developed as an outgrowth of our overall educational vision – to encourage inquiry, reflection and action and to strengthen our community of learners. In accordance with Quaker values and process, we encourage speakers to share unique ideas and to offer queries that will promote discernment and dialogue among attendees.

Parenting for Peace represents FSP's commitment to engaging with our larger community, being of service as a learning community, and providing opportunities for inquiry and discernment for adults. Our topics are broadly about issues relevant to raising children in a peaceful, loving environment using the lens of Quaker values.  We intend to follow our fall event with a larger gathering featuring a national speaker in the spring, offering a workshop for educators and a free evening lecture each time.  We have worked with coalition partners on these events to deepen our work in the community. We have thus far funded the project through private donations, grants, and sponsorship, and hope to continue building community support for the program.




Evening Presentation

Not Under My Roof: Parents, Teens, and the Culture of Sex
Wednesday, May 4, 7:00pm

FSP welcomes author Amy Schalet for an evening lecture on sex education at home.

Many parents are unsure how to think about or talk about children's sexuality.  This can lead to an absence of conversation and a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy between kids and their families.  Amy Schalet’s research, comparing attitudes and behaviors in the Netherlands and the USA, challenges us to consider a different approach.  She argues that a “Not Under My Roof” stance actually puts kids at greater risk than a culture that supports their emerging sexuality through conversation, information, and acknowledgement of their increasing maturity and capacity for healthy relationships. Come learn from Schalet and consider her “ABCD’s of Talking with Teens about Sex."

Many thanks to Jennifer Wiessner, LCSW, CST for her support of this program.  Learn more about Jennifer and her workshop series "Raising Sexually Healthy Children" by clicking here. And learn about her workshop for DADS (of kids ages 0-8) by clicking here.



Educators' Workshop

Beyond “Raging Hormones”: Educating for Positive Relational and Sexual Development
Wednesday, May 4, 3:30-5:30pm

In the United States, parents and educators often approach the sexual education of the next generation with great trepidation. Our society and culture are suffused with images of danger, disease, and conflict. No surprise then that parents and educators often find themselves inadvertently participating in a dramatization of sexual development. How might they instead promote a positive relational and sexual development? Amy Schalet addresses this question, drawing on examples from her cross-cultural research with parents of adolescents, as well as Dutch sex education curricula for grade school children. Educators will have the opportunity to interactively explore how to apply some of the principles from the research to their classroom practices. We will pay special attention to interrupting harmful gender stereotypes around love and sexuality, and supporting girls and boys to develop into their full potential. $40 fee.

Click here to read her New York Times article, "The Sleepover Question."

Click here to read Amy's latest article,"Why boys need to have conversations about emotional intimacy in classrooms."



October 12, 2015 at 7:00pm
Friends School of Portland
In awareness of indigenous people on "Columbus Day," please join us for a screening of the documentary film Dakota 38. This important film follows the 330-mile journey of a group of Sioux riders and their horses as they honor those killed in the largest mass execution in U.S. history, ordered by President Lincoln and taking place on December 26, 1862. Presented by FSP's 7th and 8th grade class and Parenting for Peace.

Filmmaker Silas Hagerty will join us for a discussion of the film afterwards. Not recommended for students younger than 7th grade. Free and open to the public.

Please click here for more info on the film and to view the trailer.


Wednesday, May 6 @ 7:00pm

102 Wishcamper Center, USM Portland Campus

SPEAKING THE TRUTH: The History, Necessity and Process of the Maine Wabanaki-State Child Welfare Truth & Reconciliation Commission

Free and Open to the Public!

Please click here for a printable poster.

How do we right a wrong? Is it ever too late?

Have you ever thought about the price indigenous people have paid for us to own the land we have?

How do we teach our children the importance of acknowledging the truth and acting with integrity?
How do we heal and learn from the truth?

Since first encountering Europeans in the 15th century, indigenous peoples on this continent have been targeted for elimination. Policies of the colonies and legislation passed by the US government were specifically intended to reduce their numbers. During the late 1800’s Native children were removed from their communities and placed in boarding schools to “kill the Indian to save the man.” With these schools reaching a peak in the 1970’s, policies of removal for foster care and adoption were evolving at the same time. Even after Congress passed the 1978 Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA,) which gave Native children and families more protection by recognizing the inherent rights of the tribe in child welfare cases, Maine continued to have one of the highest rates of removal of Indian children.

In 2000, a group of native and non-native social workers in Maine faced this head on. It eventually became the Maine Wabanaki-State Child Welfare Truth and Reconciliation Commission--the first truth commission in the United States to address this situation. It seeks to create truth, healing and change for both Wabanaki and non-Native communities in Maine.

Co-presenters Cheryl Schauffler and Arla Patch will discuss the context for this truth commission historically as well as its process and goals. They will also talk about the work of Maine-Wabanaki REACH (Reconciliation-Engagement-Advocacy-Change-Healing), the organization that will oversee the implementation of the truth commission's recommedations.

Please join us for this important conversation, part of our ongoing commitment to encouraging inquiry, reflection and action among our community of learners.

Cosponsored by University of Southern Maine's Women and Gender Studies Program, USM's School of Social Work, and USM's Office of Multicultural Student Affairs.

Presenter Bios

Cheryl Schauffler (Giizhikgonikway) is a tribal member of the Bay Mills Indian Community in Brimley, Michigan (Ojibway). At age 3, her birth father took her to the first in a series of orphanages, one of which he had lived in. At age 10, she was adopted into a white family where she survived physical and verbal abuse.  She currently lives in Norway, ME and has been a volunteer with Maine-Wabanaki REACH for the past three years, helping to educate about the history and contemporary realities of Native people.

Arla Patch is the Community Engagement Coordinator for Maine-Wabanaki REACH. She began as a volunteer over three years ago and after a year and a half became a staff member. She is a teaching artist with over 40 years experience. As part of her work as a volunteer, she asked to end a 54-year tradition in Bethel, ME of a white girl dressing up like an Indian and riding the parade as "Miss Molly Ockett." She developed an Essay Challenge to replace it that tells the truth about Native history. The essay winners now ride in the parade. Arla is a member of Portland Friends Meeting.



Sustainability Event

Wednesday, October 15, 7:00pm

Envisioning a Sustainable Future: A Discussion with 3 Maine Thought-Leaders

Seth Silverton, Founder of The Woodchop School:
Community organizer and sustainability educator, Brooklyn Friends School graduate

Naomi Beal, Director of PassivhausMAINE:
Advocate for reducing the carbon footprint of our built environment, Earlham College graduate

Stacy Brenner, Owner of Broadturn Farm:
Expert in community-centered organic farming and farmland preservation, George School graduate

Teacher Workshop: Educating for a Sustainable Future

Facilitated by

Josh Olins, Sustainability educator, recycling advocate, Falmouth 1st Grade Teacher, Ecomaine 2014 eco-Excellence Award Winner

Lee Chisholm, Climate change organizer, activist & FSP middle school teacher

Is it impolitic to teach environmentalism in elementary school?  Is is appropriate for young children to learn about climate change? What are some strategies for engaging kids, families, teachers and whole schools in more innovative sustainability practices?  Educators Josh Olins and Lee Chisholm will share their unique case studies and then much of the time will be spent in a a facilitated discussion about the role that teachers and schools should and can play in environmental education for young children.



Thursday, May 15, 7:00pm

In the Moment: Mindfulness for Families and Educators



Click here for a list of Mindfulness Resources from the Educators' Workshop.
Click here for "Can Mindfulness Make Us Better Teachers?"
Click here for "13 Things Mindful People Do Differently Every Day."

Click here for "The Tree of Contemplative Practices."

An evening of dialogue about the benefits of mindfulness for children and families. The guest facilitators were Irene McHenry, a psychologist, author, and executive director of the Friends Council on Education, and Kathryn Byrnes, a scholar of mindfulness and education professor at Bowdoin College. Learn the research behind mindfulness in education, the impact on health and happiness, and practices to use in everyday life.

Cosponsored by USM's Teacher Education Department, the YMCA of Southern Maine, and True North Health Center.

True North Logo YMCA logo USM logo


Educators' Workshop
Mindful Awareness: Thriving as Teachers and Learners

What does it look, feel, and sound like to thrive rather than survive as teachers and learners in today's educational contexts? How can the practices of mindful awareness (physical, intellectual, and emotional) enhance communities of learners? Experience a range of practices employed in K-12 and higher education settings to cultivate skills of awareness and insight concerning the processes of teaching and learning. Engage in the science and art of mindfulness in education through experiential exercises, dialogue and presentations by facilitators Kathryn Byrnes, a scholar of mindfulness and education professor at Bowdoin Colllege, and Irene McHenry, a psychologist, author and executive director of the Friends Council on Education. We look forward to building the community of educators integrating mindfulness in education in Maine. A complimentary networking dinner will follow the workshop. We hope you will also attend our evening program (see above), which will engage more broadly with questions about mindfulness in our family life. Thursday, May 15, 3:30-5:30pm.

Workshop fee is $40 and includes a snack and light supper. The fee with .5 CEU's is $65 and requires attendance at dinner and the evening program, as well as participation in an online follow-up.


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Peaceful Parenting in a Culture of Punishment: A Community Conversation

Katherine Endy and Sarah MacLaughlin, both social workers and parenting educators, will lead this evening of exploration using self-reflection, conversation, and group interactions. Join us to ponder the questions: What is the role of punishment? Is time-out a punishment or a consequence? and, What is the difference between punishment and consequences....Or is there a difference? If you have decided NOT to spank, coerce, or punish your children and are left saying, "Now what?" - or if punishing your kids isn't working and just doesn't feel right -  this workshop is for you. Sarah and Katherine will offer a fresh perspective, the latest brain science, and new skills and tools to help you foster a connection-based approach for guiding your children.

Click here for a printable poster.

Presented by Friends School of Portland and Maine Inside Out

This presentation is in partnership with Maine Inside Out and is part of a 4-day symposium featuring an original performance by youth at Long Creek Youth Development center and a keynote presentation by Sister Helen Prejean, author of Dead Man Walking, on Friday, October 18. Fore more information on the symposium, please visit

Maine Inside Out logo



ALWAYS ON: Family Life in the Digital Age

with Dr. Rob Williams, founder of the Action Coalition for Media Education

May 2, 2013

***Click here for comments on the evening lecture and links to share for further discussion.***

Digital media offers incredible wonders and significant challenges for our children and our families. How do we embrace the most exciting aspects of our web 2.0 culture while remaining mindful of the downsides of passive media consumption? What information and skills do we need to raise healthy children and thriving families in the digital age?

On May 2nd, Dr. Rob Williams spoke on the trends that are shaping children’s communication culture. He will help us deepen our understanding of media's power and create strategies for remaining active participants in our own digital lives. An educator and social media specialist, and a founder of the Action Coalition for Media Education, Williams will helped us understand the current terrain in all of its complexity. 

This event was cosponsored by the Communication and Media Studies Department at USM, YMCA of Southern Maine (Portland Branch), The Telling Room, Hardy Girls Healthy Women, and Boys to Men.

Understanding Our 21st Century Media Culture :   A “New Media” Workshop for Educators (PreK – 8th Grade)

with Dr. Rob Williams, founder of the Action Coalition for Media Education

• What is “New Media” and what do teachers need to know to be fluent and able to support kids digital literacy?

• What is an appropriate media diet to be served at school and how does it differ at different stages of development?

• What kinds of media are kids engaging in outside of school and how can teachers support critical thinking and guidance as kids explore new modes of communication?

• How can adults best model healthy media engagement and what do we want our school cultures to reflect, in terms of educational technology?



Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Beyond Princesses and Pirates: Navigating Gender and Sexuality Diversity in Childhood with author Jennifer Bryan

  • What is gender stereotyping and how can we overcome its limitations?
  • How should we talk to children about gender and sexuality diversity?
  • How do we learn to face prejudices and inequities with compassion and confidence?

Jennifer Bryan challenged our thinking about "natural" differences between boys and girls, and helped us better understand the complexity of diverse gender identities. Learn more about Jennifer Bryan at

**Click here to see Dr. Jennifer Bryan speak about Gender Diversity on WCSH6's 207.**



Tomboys, Sissies and ‘That's So Gay': Exploring Gender and Sexuality Diversity in PreK - 8th Grade Classrooms

  • Are boys and girls naturally different from each other and what does that mean in school? What is the difference between a truism and a stereotype about gender?
  • How does Maine's law requiring nondiscrimination based on gender diversity shape our schools and classrooms?
  • How are messages from the debate on marriage equality shaping kids ideas and interactions? What can teachers do to ensure equity for all kids in school?

Learn more about Jennifer Bryan at


Best Friends/Worst Enemies: Friendship Development, Popularity and Social Cruelty in Childhood, with renowned psychologist and author Dr. Michael Thompson

Best Friends, Worst Enemies Handout

This free evening lecture walked adults through the complex social world of childhood and addresses a number of questions:  What is the normal sequence of child friendships, from the parallel play of the two-year-old to the intimate self-disclosure of the adolescent? How can parents best respond to sticky social situations? How can we help our children become good friends to others, while maintaining their own individuality? When should adults get involved in children’s friendship problems? Learn more about Michael Thompson here.

To watch Michael Thompson talk about bullying on WCSH6, click here.

WORKSHOP FOR EDUCATORS & PARENTS: Parent-Teacher Communication

Paradox of the Anxious Parent Handout

Tips for Parents, Teachers, & Administrators

This interactive workshop facilitated by Michael Thompson, Ph.D, offered classroom teachers, childcare providers, school administrators, parents and guardians, and community educators the opportunity to learn about the importance of family involvement in school and best practices for enhancing communication between educators and caregivers. The emphasis of the workshop was on the skills, habits and practices involved in developing strong relationships and communication within school communities.

Prep School Negro film screening out Outreach Workshop with Directory Andre Robert Lee
Click here to see the Director of Prep School Negro on 207.


Books as Bridges: Children's books can be effective catalysts for conversations about race, particularly essential for communities with few opportunities for cross-racial relationships.  On October 18, 2011, Anne Sibley O’Brien and Krista Aronson shared an overview of the latest findings on race and bias, including research demonstrating that exposure to books featuring positive interracial interactions can actually reduce prejudice.  In the educators' workshop, earlier the same day, Annie presented an overview of some of the latest research on racial identity formation (including whiteness), unconscious bias, and contemporary realities of racism.  Check out Coloring Between the Lines to learn more about her approach.

Bibliography: Children's books that help talk about race

Related Reading:

Silence in the Classroom: learning to talk about issues of race by Jeane Copenhaver

See Baby Discriminate by Po Bronson & Ashley Merryman

A Different View of White Privilege by Dwight Lopes

Educators' Workshop Action Posters

View WCSH6 207's Kathleen Shannon's interview with Anne Sibley O'Brien

Download a pdf souvenir poster


Alfie Kohn, author of THE HOMEWORK MYTH: Why Our Kids Get Too Much of a Bad Thing, and UNCONDITIONAL PARENTING: Moving from Rewards and Punishments to Love and Reason, THE SCHOOLS OUR CHILDREN DESERVE, and his new book, FEEL-BAD EDUCATION, a collection of essays, spoke to an audience of over 200 at USM's Hannaford Hall in the Abromson Community Education Center.  This event was free and open to the

public and made possible in part with a grant from the Quimby Family Foundation and a generous donation from Sam Solish and Jo Linder.  Click here for one parent's notes on Alfie Kohn's 10 recommendations for parenting.

Here is a link to an audio recording of Alfie's presentation on unconditional parenting (2 hrs) Alfie starts at 08:50, recommendations to parents is around 120:00, Q & A is at 157:16

Here is a link for more information about Alfie Kohn.


Wild Play: Parenting Adventures in the Great Outdoors, was presented on Tuesday, October 19, 2010 by David Sobel, Co-Director of the Center on Place-Based Education at Antioch University, Keene, NH to over 85 audience members.  His afternoon workshop, "Cultivating Environmental Stewardship: Practical Strategies for the Pre-K - 8 Classroom," brought together 15 educators from across the state.  Both programs elicited action steps from the participants to implement or learn more about the topics presented.  These programs are funded in part by a grant from the Quimby Family Foundation.

The following links will take you to more information about: David Sobel -  his books -  place-based education - Quimby Family Foundation


The Ecology of Hope with Sandra Steingraber, took place on Tuesday, May 11, 2010 at USM with over 150 people attending.  Sandra Steingraber, is an award winning ecologist, Cornell University professor, mother, cancer survivor, and former Ms. Magazine Woman of the year. Dr. Steingraber's newest book, Living Downstream, 2nd edition, was published in April 2010. The book is also being produced as a documentary.

This event was made possible in part by a grant from the Ceres Foundation and is co-sponsored by the USM Women and Gender Studies Program, The Environmental Health Strategy Center, Physicians for Social Responsibility and the Natural Resource Council of Maine.


The first in the series featured author and psychologist Susan Linn, Ed.D.  on Tuesday, May 12, 2009 speaking on "The Case for Make Believe: Why Children Need to Play, Who's Stopping Them and What We Can Do About It." Susan Linn is a psychologist at Judge Baker Children's Center and Harvard Medical School in Boston. She is the co-founder/director of A Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood. She is also an award-winning ventriloquist, internationally recognized for her pioneering use of puppets as a tool in play therapy with children.

The second in the series was a panel presentation on Tuesday, October 20, 2009 and was presented in partnership with Physicians for Social Responsibility. Taking a proactive approach, "Detox Your Toy Box" explored current research linking environmental toxins to children's health and opportunities for personal and collective action. The panel also shared strategies for engaging children in making healthy choices for themselves and their planet. Experts from diverse, yet connected fields came together as a panel and include:

  • David Bellinger, PhD, Professor of Neurology, Harvard Medical School.
  • Nicole Borrasso, Friends School Teacher and Outdoor Educator, FSP
  • Kristine Jenkins, Environmental Health Organizer, Environmental Health Strategy Center

The panel was moderated by local pediatrician, parent and FSP Board member, Jeff Peterson.



Middle School Band