Peace Education was adopted as a major concern of our Area Meeting in 2014 and we have now completed over 85 programmes in schools across our area. We always welcome new volunteers and currently are particularly in need of Welsh speakers. See contact details below.
We have recently received £2067 from Comic Relief Community Fund in Wales to help us promote the project.
The Peaceful Schools Project is an initiative of Mid-Wales Area Quaker Meeting but it is not about Quakerism. It is a response to the culture of violence and hostility in our society, as evidenced in, for example, violent video games, and as expressed in bullying in our schools and on our streets. Its aim is to create a peaceful atmosphere in schools where pupils treat each other with respect, work co-operatively, and resolve problems constructively. The Project offers schools in mid Wales two programmes: Peace Education and Peer Mediation Training.
This is a 6 hour programme which is delivered in 1 hour sessions over 6 weeks or as an intensive programme in 1 week. We start with establishing ground rules - listening, respecting, sharing, confidentiality etc and then begin very basic conflict resolution work, starting with the individual and working outwards – feeling OK about ourselves, handling our own anger, being aware of how overlapping and complex are our ‘in-groups’ and ‘out-groups’; then handling bullying and other people’s anger and aggression; awareness of different perceptions of situations, the challenges of decision-making; and progressing to the potential in co-operation and a more pro-active mediation.
This is apparently a very minor input into the school week but we know from feedback that the work extends into other parts of the school week, both because teachers pick up on some of the exercises and because the children refer back to it. At the end of a programme we ask for feedback from teachers and pupils as to what has worked best, what has been most (and least) enjoyable, what they have learned and whether they would recommend the work to other classes.
Peer Mediation Training
This programme was developed from our experience of developing the Peace Education programme. The children have to have done the Peace Education programme first.
It is a 9-hour programme for upper forms of primary and delivered over 6 days with a 1½ hour session each day. It provides detailed training on how to deal with, and resolve confidently, the squabbling and the conflict that occurs within their school. It is a progressive programme where the children are seen as important mediators in leading and taking responsibility within the school community.
In both programmes much of the work is done with circle time, plus some work in small groups. We use a mixture of talking, sharing, exercises and games. We use quiet periods and mindful breathing to give pupils the skills to handle their own stresses, and stories to focus attention on particular issues. We work in pairs, with the form staff present and engaged with the programme.
Both programmes have been well received by the schools and Estyn’s inspectorate. The programmes are offered free to schools and are focused on primary years (3,4,5,6) but we are open to discuss other requests. We currently cover schools in north Powys, north Ceredigion and south Gwynedd.