In an innovative program at Bronxville Elementary School in Bronxville, NY, first graders are learning to handle disagreements through a project-based learning experience. The students, guided by their teachers, designed a Peace Path for their school playground to address conflicts peacefully. They conducted research by reading books, interviewing their school psychologist Joyce Vastola, and exploring the benefits of a peace path.
This Peace Path is intended to be a designated area on the playground where students can walk and talk through their issues, using prompts to facilitate respectful communication and conflict resolution. The prompts include expressions of feelings, actions to make things right, and expressions of gratitude and commitment to change.
Teacher Kathryn Westerheim and Principal Rakiya Adams are working on a grant proposal to install the Peace Path permanently. The initiative aims to empower students to resolve their disputes amicably and understand that they can make a difference in the world, regardless of their age. The Peace Path is part of a broader movement, with thousands of such paths implemented in playgrounds across the United States, promoting fair conflict resolution among students and with both parties being heard.