Each year, fourth and fifth graders can apply to become trained as peer mediators. Some students are recommended by teachers, and some are selected because they express a strong interest. The program involves a two-day training and regular meetings with a trained mediator to review skills and address issues that have come up since the last meeting. A team of two mediators, wearing bright rainbow sashes, monitor the playgrounds at all recesses. They also respond to requests from school staff for intervention with conflicts between children. Each mediator is on duty an average of once a week.
The training involves learning problem solving skills such as active listening, discerning facts from feelings, facilitating communication, and the brainstorming and evaluation of solutions. Students also learn a specific problem solving process.
Participants in the program are not only empowered to become effective problem solvers in playground and classroom conflicts, but more importantly, to embody this nonviolent approach and become peacemakers, positive role models and leaders in their schools, communities and families.
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