Peacemaker program teaches conflict resolution skills

averyOur Elementary school Peacemaking Program is a successful kid-to-kid program teaching children conflicts resolution skills.

Our program promotes non-violent communication, problem solving thinking and stresses that students can be responsible companions to each other.

Our peacemakers are trained in conflict resolutions: they listen actively, they do not take sides, they do not solve other students’ problems but they help other students solve their problems fairly.

Training stresses the importance of respecting one another and what children can do when faced with a difficult situation.

From kindergarten to second grade, students are trained to use the “I” messages, an essential part of the Peacemaking Program. “I” messages are an assertive and respectful way to express our own feelings and the change we wish to happen when coming across a conflict.

Third, fourth and fifth grade are trained in becoming peacemakers. They take turns on the playground during recess time and help students from kindergarten to 5th grade. Third and fourth graders are volunteers but in grade 5, being a peacemaker becomes mandatory and is a part of the grade 5 leadership role.

To be easily identified by children, peacemakers wear a bright yellow safety vest and a “peacemaker” arm band reminding of the UN Peacekeepers blue helmet.

So far, students have had a positive attitude towards this program. Every step is respected and followed and being practiced on the playground!

St. John’s does not tolerate bullying and we want everyone to feel happy, included and safe. We hope that our Peacemaking program can be a step in helping our students become responsible students and world citizens.

by Maria Rigas, Elementary School intern