The following describes workshops run by PeaceMakers recently.
Being back in schools, working with so many new children has been an extra-special privilege and a delight this year. We’ve noticed the challenges facing children and schools after such a difficult 2020. As a parent of young children, I am aware of the impact that home learning and being isolated from friends has had on them. The games and approaches that we use in Peacemakers have taken on a particular resonance for me and for us as a team. Here we highlight a few things we have noticed:
- Core Peacemaker activities that encourage working together and with different people, building a sense of achievement through collaborative efforts, have helped those children who are struggling to work together with their classmates, in pairs, small groups and as a whole class.
- Peacemaker circles which are active, dynamic, with frequent movement breaks and games to mix everyone and use different parts of the brain, have helped those struggling to concentrate for any length of time on a task. Having opportunities to reflect on the experience, helps children recognise and acknowledge this.
- Reflective questioning that encourages children to think differently and more deeply, is helping offset the longer periods of isolated prescriptive learning which may have taken place at home.
We’ve finally completed the Peer Mediation 2020 project, which involved training children from 10 schools in Peer Mediation. It meant that children who hadn’t mixed or socialised in the previous year due to the class bubble system, were able to meet each other and make new friendships whilst training together. This has been a positive result that the children have told us they particularly value. The new Peer Mediators have come out of the training buzzing with excitement and enthusiasm for the scheme. We wish them well and look forward to hearing how they are getting on.
We are now bringing our Junior Peacemaker workshops to whole year groups within a school, enabling us to directly engage with a lot more children and staff than we were previously able to do. This year we’ve delivered:
- 3 workshops on ‘Climate Justice’, where we aimed to enthuse children to make positive changes that help slow the impact of climate change, whilst recognising that some are more adversely affected than others.
- 3 with a focus on Wellbeing: ‘Creating a Healthy School’
- 4 that help children think about what they can do to have a positive affect on others: ‘Peace Begins with Me’.
The last 2 workshops have outdoor elements that the children have really enjoyed in all weather conditions. One of our activities is shared below.
If you would like information about bursaries available for peer mediation, courses and Junior Peacemaker workshops, then please get in touch.
Libbs Packer, Schools Coordinator