Fort Collins, Colorado
It is so gratifying to see how Peacekeeper circles are impacting teachers and their classes. One inspired teacher chose to share her excitement with the school district. Because of her insight and enthusiasm the Peacekeeper circles were featured in the Coloradoan newspaper today. Check it out.
In addition to having coverage in the newspaper today, we also held a focus group meeting with eight teachers from Olander Elementary school. Comments about how these circle meetings on a weekly basis are so valued, that if for some reason there isn’t time for the circle the children rebel and request that the circles take precedence so they can share what is on their minds and hearts. “The kids take ownership of the circle”
Teachers are finding that the skills taught in peacekeeper are being used outside of the classroom to improve children’s interactions and broaden their friendships. “The children are playing with and including people they hadn’t played with prior.” One valuable tidbit came from a 4th grade teacher noticing that some of the boys who in the past wouldn’t typically be vulnerable or emotional had a safe place to experience their true emotions which helped them be more compassionate to others feelings about heir actions. “I’ve overheard boys standing up for each other, who were once at odds”.
Collaboration is a necessary skill used in and out of the classroom. When a teacher witnesses children using the expressions of gratitude, grievance and apology taught in Peacekeeper, to resolve issues and move on, it is also encouraging to the teacher. This is why they make the weekly half hour commitment to hold circle with and for the students. They have heard kids say, ”We need Peacekeeper”
Ideally, the students are using the skills in circle and are encouraged by the teacher to practice the skills whenever needed. The teachers expressed how they themselves are learning effective communication in school and also using the skills in their family lives too.
The children use the skills when issues arise to repair harm and because they are becoming proficient they naturally will take this out to the world as they mature. It is so heartwarming to watch kids resolve conflict and repair their friendships by themselves. This allows the students the ability to resume working effectively together and it makes the teacher’s job that much easier. “All I say to the kids is: Are you using your peacekeeper skills? And the get it”.