The School Peacemaker Program                           

 

 

The School Peacemaker Program was created in 2006 to address the need to reduce violence in our public schools. Our children deserve and require a safe environment in which they can learn. Bullies and the threat of violence diminish the ability for many children to focus on their work. It also often inflicts severe emotional trauma that only leads to more serious violence.

Very often children who are seen as different from the perceived norm are at far greater risk then others. When this tormenting and abuse is not decisively addressed by those in charge, or even tacitly endorsed, the abuse continues unfettered. Only profound education and the promotion of true empathy and understanding can help children to stop being hateful and violent toward those who are outside of what they are used to.

The School Peacemaker Program was founded by David Shaman and was developed with the input and insights from a wide variety of professionals.

Psychologists, Principals, Educators and Guidance Counselors have all had a great deal of priceless knowledge and experience to share. The synergistic result has been an extremely progressive, comprehensive & effective multi-disciplined method. Unique and on the cutting edge we offer a 5 pronged approach that addresses every known learning style:

1) The use of group drumming teaches the power of cooperation and team work. It creates a truly fun environment and greater receptivity to learning. This aspect of The School Peacemaker harnesses "Kinesthetic/Tactile" learning. Studies have proven that by getting the children physically involved while they take in new information it will be retained much longer.

2) The use of multi-cultural puppets to demonstrate creative problem solving techniques utilizes the "Visual" as well as the "Auditory" learning styles. Infused with humor and laughter, they keep the children engaged.

3) Creative Dramatics, or "Role Playing", is also a very important teaching tool. By having children act out problem solving situations themselves they are benefiting from an experiential approach to learning. This reinforces the kinesthetic process. It is also fun and the children love it!

4) Of course there is a brief, purely auditory segment. The sharing of new concepts and ideas is crucial in the facilitation of progressive understanding. This part is kept short and sweet to honor realistic attention spans. It is also delivered in an interactive fashion, not as lecture. Challenging children to acknowledge and share about situations that they have experienced keeps them involved. Solutions to difficult circumstances are shared and then they are supported by the puppets and Creative Dramatics as described above.

5) One of the reasons that children bully is for attention from other children. The School Peacemaker encourages a new school-wide culture in which attention is gained by being a "Champion" instead of a bully. This is a strong component of the puppet lessons as well as the Creative Dramatics. At the end of the program children are encouraged to watch for others who have stood up for them or someone else. These people are honored by having their name put on a smiley face and displayed on the "Wall of Champions". In this way we are encouraging an environment where being a Champion is praised and admired. Being a bully is no longer the "cool" thing to do.

There are two other components that make The School Peacemaker Program very different and increase it's effectiveness. The first is that instead of addressing an entire auditorium full of children in an "assembly" style, we focus on a much smaller group. Usually a maximum of 30 children. This allows a more personal interaction and, due to the drumming and other fun activity, breaks down barriers to receptivity. The second component is that the sessions are planned in a series of four presentations. Repetition is a proven tool for assimilating new ideas. With each subsequent session there is a great deal of overlap in the message that is shared. In addition, the children become more comfortable with the facilitator. The fact that the facilitator is playing drums with them, not just telling them what to do, helps them to be more open to the new information.