Community Cares welcomes this week's guest blogger, Priscilla Prutzman of Creative Response to Conflict
Often the most difficult times of the school day are lunchtime and recess. Students, happy to be relieved from the classroom and heavy learning, frolic around on the playground or spread the “latest gossip” of the school. Often, this time, which gives the young people important time to reenergize for the upcoming classes, can cause a lot of trouble among the students, not about school subjects, but about bullying and relational aggression. Who are whose friends, who plays with whom, and maybe who is left out of the games become the most important questions. And in all this moving time, students can get upset and conflicts can develop or escalate.
To help in these important times of lunch and recess, Creative Response To Conflict (CRC) started a program to help schools and day care centers become safer and more welcoming places for everyone.
Lunchtime Listeners are adults trained in conflict resolution skills to help young people find positive solutions to conflicts. Volunteers can be retired educators, college students, mediators and others interested in nonviolent conflict resolution. The ideal lunchtime Listener has experience working with children and adolescents and has a commitment to nonviolence.
The skills that CRC Lunchtime Listeners use to help students are (among others) paraphrasing, listening, active listening, problem solving, mediation as well as affirmation, I statements and agreeing to disagree.
The types of conflicts that occur during lunch and recess include: bias and bullying incidents; friendship disputes, put downs (unwanted teasing); exclusion from play; property disputes (whose pencil is it, whose crayon is it, etc.) and other misunderstandings. Sometimes Lunchtime Listeners help prevent conflicts from developing and escalating by listening and giving attention to children and young people who may feel isolated, lonely or sad about the school day.
CRC offers the Lunchtime Listeners Program for Day Care Centers, Elementary Schools, and Middle Schools.
This CRC program is currently running in Rockland County’s Upper Nyack Elementary School and Nyack Middle School. In Westchester, there is a program onsite at a Pediatric Office where volunteers read stories to children about the CRC conflict resolution themes of cooperation, communication, affirmation, problem solving, mediation, bias awareness and bullying prevention. There are also several programs in New Rochelle.
CRC is offering a Lunchtime Listeners training for new volunteers - Wednesday, February 27, from 1 p.m. until 4 p.m. at the Fellowship of Reconciliation in Nyack, New York. Registration is necessary. For further information, call the CRC office at 845.353.1796.
About the Community Cares Blog and the Rockland Community Foundation
The Community Cares Blog, hosted by the Rockland Community Foundation, celebrates the spirit of giving in our community. Each week, we will post a story of philanthropy or shine a spotlight on an activity that is making a difference in the lives of our neighbors. We invite Rockland non-profits, individuals and businesses to contribute to the Community Cares blog by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
As the umbrella charitable organization for the county, the Rockland Community Foundation is working to connect donors with the causes they care about most. Our grants support a wide range of interests and, with the support of Rockland residents and businesses, we are committed a path of growth that will enable us to help the non-profit community continue their vital work. You can learn more by visiting us at http://www.rocklandgives.org.