PeaceBuilders

Categories

Categories associated with best practice:

  • Early Childhood (ages 3-5) icon
  • Children (ages 6-12) icon
  • Teens (ages 13-18) icon
  • Before-After School Icon 1
  • Best Practices
  • Community/ Neighbourhood
  • Elementary School Icon 1
  • Healthy child development
  • Injury Prevention
  • Mental Health Icon 2
  • Personal health practices and coping skills
  • Preventing Violence Icon 1
  • Recreation/ Fitness/ Sport Facilities
  • Social environments
  • Social Relationships That Respect Diversity

Overview

PeaceBuilders is a school wide violence prevention program for students in grades K-12. PeaceBuilders attempts to create a positive school climate by developing positive relationships between students and school staff; directly teaching nonviolent attitudes, values, and beliefs; and providing incentives for young people to display these behaviors at school, in the community, and at home. PeaceBuilders introduces a common language to a school centered on six principles: praise people; avoid put-downs; seek wise people as advisers and friends; notice and correct hurts we cause; right wrongs; and help others. Activities and rewards designed to teach and encourage these “peace-building” behaviors are woven into the school’s everyday routine with the participation of all staff in the school, including teachers, classroom aides, administrators, librarians, nurses, playground monitors, and any others who regularly interact with students. Parents are critical team members and active participants in building the PeaceBuilders village, and they are offered individualized training in PeaceBuilders skills, routines and rituals to use at home. Relationships are also formed with community businesses, agencies, after school programs and Boys and Girls clubs, to spread PeaceBuilding principles throughout the community. Targeted outcomes include improved social competence, more frequent positive and prosocial behavior, and reduced aggression.

Implementation begins with a 2-hour, developer-facilitated meeting during which the school administrators designated as the site’s PeaceBuilders leadership team share ideas for site-wide activities and create an implementation plan. All school staff then participate in a 4- hour on-site training, during which they learn how to model and support positive behavior using the PeaceBuilders curriculum. Over the remainder of the year, each of the principles is taught by instructional staff in monthly installments. PeaceBuilders principles are prominently displayed throughout the school, and daily rituals are introduced to foster a sense of belonging and provide environmental prompts for positive behavior. Between activities, staff actively monitor hot spots such as lunchrooms and hallways, praising prosocial behavior.

A large scale, cluster randomised controlled evaluation measured the impacts of PeaceBuilders in eight elementary schools in Arizona over three years. Several smaller scale evaluations have also been conducted in different settings (primarily with students in K-6). This research has generally shown that in elementary schools, PeaceBuilders decreased visits to the school nurse, fights, injuries, accidents, vandalism, absenteeism of students and teachers, and aggression, and increased prosocial behaviours, social competence, academic performance and positive school culture.

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