Homegrown “peace project” aims to reduce conflict
- Published: March 18, 2015
What began as an anti-bullying campaign at Mills Lawn Elementary School has evolved into a school-wide focus on empathy, inclusion and conflict resolution.In its third year, Project Peace is teaching students to mediate their own conflicts through respectful communication and other strategies.
During Peace Week, March 16–20, students will explore what it means to be accountable, bravely handle conflicts, make new friends, engage in community service and more. On Wednesday, March 18, at 1:45 p.m. parents and community members are invited to an assembly that features singing and student essays around the peace theme. Villagers are also invited to share their stories of peacemaking and acts of kindness with students by submitting them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
While previous years of Project Peace have focused on role playing difficult situations and learning from examples, this year students are learning how to be proactive in everyday interactions, Mills Lawn School Counsel John Gudgel said. Added Allison Paul, the media club facilitator who is leading a peacemaking media project: “It’s really about promoting the positive attitudes and attributes that support the school’s culture.”
In 2013, “Project Peace: Confronting Bullying Through Art,” utilized the school’s artist-in-residence program and ended with students creating a triptych of Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King and Mahatma Gandhi. Last year, the monthlong focus on peace concluded with a “Grow Peace” mural and project-based learning open house.