So that students learn to work out their own problems, a new program has kids take a peace walk to resolve their disputes with each other.
Understanding how the other person in a disagreement feels can go a long way toward resolving a conflict. It is difficult for adults, and even more so for elementary age students.
At North Elementary School of the Arts, students have learned to mediate conflicts between their peers. With funding from Kiwanis and the United Way of Dickinson County, kids are learning how to settle their disputes.
“Peace Walks teach young children how to have fair arguments,” said Barb Reisner, director of Great Start. This training model has been used by Reisner in Peace Walk mediation for the past 25 years. She began the program during her first year as a school counselor in West Allis, Wisconsin.
The school Peace Walk program has been a pilot for two years. Now, with the coming school year, North Elementary will begin Peace Walk mediations.
“The success of Peace Walk mediators is based on cross-age mentoring — older students helping younger students, kids helping kids. It’s a type of mentoring model that always works,” said Jonathan Ringel, a member of the training team and the local Kiwanis Club.