Ideas for Elementary Schools

Elementary school ideas

As we organize the National School Walkout, we’ve been contacted by many elementary school parents and teachers about how they might participate in the day in a meaningful way. For most elementary schools, a physical walkout is not something they’d like to do, but they would like to spend 17 minutes that older students are spending walking out in an activity or event that is supportive of the national movement.

We fully support whatever actions or planning elementary schools choose to do, and really encourage:

1- creativity about what the might look like

2- sensitivity to specific ages and how communication about the day happens

3- allowing teachers to come up with ideas for what feels best the their own classroom.

Most schools we’ve talked to have decided not to mention violence or guns at all with their elementary schools. Instead, they’ve chose to focus on either KINDNESS or CIVICS activities.


Some schools have chosen to focus the event around Kindness and Community. Younger classes will be reading books about kindness (see list below) while older classes will center their discussions around bullying and taking care of each other. Some schools are choosing to have their older grades (3-5) draw chalk drawings of peace and kindness on the playground, while others are holding assemblies for the older grades to open up the discussion on a greater level.

Books to help anchor this discussion:

Stone Soup

Be Kind by Pat Zietlow Miller

Plant a Kiss by Amy Kraus Rosenthal


Other schools are focusing the event on lessons around voting and communication with our representatives. Some older grades are tying this back to recent discussions about Martin Luther King Jr, and his work. Many of these schools are using the downloadable postcard on this page to write or draw pictures for their representatives.

Books to help anchor this discussion:

Ordinary Mary’s Extraordinary Deed by Emily Pearson and Fumi Kosaka

Grace For President by Kelli DiPuccio

Real Kids, Real Stories, Real Change: Courageous Actions Around the World by Garth Sundem (for older elementary)

A great list of other books that support this discussion can be found here

Parents asking that the school participate in some way is important, as is suggesting some ideas for what that participation might look like. We also want to encourage awareness of consent for students–a student should not be asked to hold a sign if they don’t know or aren’t able to fully understand and consent to its messaging.

We created the postcard so that students might be able to send their OWN messages around peace and kindness, and really encourage that sort of student-led involvement, just as we do with older students. Our hope is that elementary schools see this as a moment of support from the community while allowing our future voters to participate in a national movement.

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How to hold a National School Walkout in your town.
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Age-appropriate ideas for discussing these issues with younger children.
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