Recently at Starr King, we began placing a much higher emphasis on conflict resolution and anti-bullying. Last week I had some pretty significant behavioral issues with two kindergartners, who I'll call Kayla and Jasmine. These two young ladies are both incredibly sharp but tend to find ways to push each other’s buttons. Over the course of a few days, the issues between them increased.
When their problems did not subside, it was time to hit the peace path– our conflict resolution tool that has been painted on our recess yard. The peace path is a three step process that schools use to find common ground between feuding students and tap in to the idea of empathy. The students first express how they feel given the conflict. Next they explain what could change so that they feel better. Lastly, students talk about what should be done next time to avoid such a situation.
The first day I guided them through the process; I had difficulty because Kayla was all for it and actively engaged in the process but Jasmine gave attitude all the way through until the last step. Luckily, I was able to tease a smile and a high five to help bring closure to the conflict. The next day as I was coming out to the yard, I heard Kayla call to me and I looked up to see Jasmine and Kayla at the peace path independently working out their latest issue. I watched them from a distance and at the end saw them give each other a high five and smile as they walked together to join a jump rope game, arms intertwined.
-DJ Anthony (Playworks Coach at Starr King Elementary)