Jane Powell and Medi James two volunteers with the mid-Wales Peaceful Schools Project have just started returning to Ceredigion Primary Schools after the Covid lockdowns. They have been with year 6 pupils at Ysgol Plascrug, Aberystwyth. In the photo you see them acting out a scenario where two people are straining to reach the bag of ‘Maltesers’. They are asking the children to consider how the dispute can be resolved. Peer mediation is considered in order to reach the chocolate.
The Project offers older children in primary schools a one hour session per week for six weeks where two volunteers present themes of conflict and peace to children. The aim is for the children to consider each other with respect, work co-operatively and understand the basic skills needed to resolve problems constructively. It is a response to the culture of violence and hostility in our society today.
The sessions are held in a form of circle time using a mixture of discussion, pair work, games, stories and plays. The experience of quiet time and mindful breathing is new to many children and offers them a skill to handle their own stress. We suggest ways of expressing anger and other difficult emotions; exploring peacefulness within ourselves and consider resolution and peer mediation.
The work encompass the themes within the new Wales Curriculum and are welcomed by teachers and head teachers. Jane and Medi’s comment ” being in the company of children is good fun in addition to reminding us how hard it is for teachers to navigate the challenges within education today”.