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Bronxville News

Students sitting on a carpet in their classroom listening to teacher present something on the whiteboard
Bronxville, NY

First graders at Bronxville Elementary School have found a creative way to address conflicts peacefully, literally step by step. Engaged in a project-based learning experience, the young students collaboratively designed a Peace Path for their school’s playground. 

Under the guidance of their teachers, the students worked together to identify and address disagreements or issues that arrive during playground activities. The comprehensive research included reading relevant books, interviewing their school psychologist Joyce Vastola and exploring the benefits of implementing a peace path. 

“The students were highly engaged in working together to solve the problems they were having at recess,” Kathryn Westerheim said. “We hope for the students to take away that, regardless of their age, they can always make a difference in the world around them.”

Westerheim and Principal Rakiya Adams are working on a grant proposal to facilitate the installation of the peace path on the school’s playground. The path will serve as a designated space where students can learn to walk and talk out their issues respectfully. The path will include prompts, such as: 

•    “I feel…when…” 
•    “What can I do to make it right?” 
•    “I will…” 
•    “I need…” 
•    “Thank you.” 
•    “From now on, I will…” 

The Peace Path is a conflict resolution tool that has been implemented on thousands of playgrounds across the United States. It also empowers students to settle their own disagreements fairly with both parties being heard.