As I was doing some research about peer mediation, I came across an article about Jackson Elementary in Mineola, NY. Milissa Seymour is one of the teacher's who has introduced a variety of concepts into the school to help promote peace.
Grade by grade, they teach different skills like peer mediation, negotiating, and conflict resolution. Learning these skills at such a young age, may potentially ensure that these are life long
tools that these children will carry into their adult lives.
The real reason that this article got my attention was not that they have developed peer mediation program but are practicing mindfulness. Both students and teacher's alike, are encouraged by the use of a bell to become more mindful. They use the concept of SEL or Social Emotional Literacy. With the help of mindfulness, they are to expand SEL, by decreasing stress and promote peace.
Children learning a practice like mindfulness and a American school that is embracing the concept is really unique. The concept and practice of mindfulness is one that I think we all should use, in our daily lives and as mediators. It is all too easy for our brains to go to a different place, when we should be fully present and focused on what is in front of us. Remembering to mindful seems to be the hard part of mindfulness. So, I think that these kids are learning such an essential practice that as an adult I only wish I understood and learned when I was in elementary school.
Every morning, several students are chosen to ring chimes and read the weekly quote. All students, building-wide, are encouraged to stop, breathe, and become mindful upon hearing the morning chimes. Every class
in the building has been taught peaceful breathing and has an ongoing
homework assignment to practice at home.