The Peace Path by Soul Shoppe is a custom stencil from the wonderful folks over at Soul Shoppe, currently being used by thousands of playgrounds across the United States! It’s a perfect stencil for when the kids are coming back from an extended winter break and tensions (despite the weather!) tend to burn hot. Some of these disputes will lead to verbal arguments, but more than probably should turn into full-blown fights.
This is the exact thing the Peace Path is designed to prevent.
There can be no doubt fighting in school is on the decline. In a March 2017 study, Boston University professor Christopher Salas-Wright found that instances of youth violence (youth being defined as kids between 12 and 17 years-of-age) had declined by as much as 29% between 2002 and 2014. But that doesn’t mean discrepancies don’t exist. In fact, the March 2017 study found African-American youth were the most likely to be involved in violent behavior in school, followed by Hispanic and non-Hispanic white youth.
In the study, author Christopher Salas-Wright noted, “…While violence decreased among youth from all racial and ethnic groups, we see clear evidence that African-American and Hispanic youth continue to be disproportionately impacted by violence.”
This has forced some schools to go to extreme measures to curb the problem. In a certain tough area of Philadelphia, for example, a principal has taken to offering students a $100 cash reward for making it to eighth-grade graduation without fighting. The results have shown a significant decline in eighth-grade student suspensions over two years, down from 21% in 2016 to 8% as of Feb. 2018. However, the study did not mention whether the students simply took to resolving their disputes with violence outside school grounds instead of doing so in school, which does little to solve the actual problem.
That problem is communication, something that affects both children and adults in today’s contentious verbal climate.
The Peace Path by Soul Shoppe aims to resolve these conflicts before they ever reach a boiling point. Through guided prompts meant to promote empathy and understanding between two disparate parties, the Peace Path allows kids to come to an understanding of one another and talk out their issues rather than fighting.
This is how it works: two students (or more, if need be!) can come to the Peace Path with a dispute in mind. Facing one another, the first student stands on a painted pair of yellow feet, while the second student stands on a pair of blue feet. The student on the yellow feet goes first, beginning the conversation with the following prompt: “I feel…when….” The student on the blue feet can then respond to the other with a prompt that reads, “I know you feel…when….” The two students then follow the prompts all the way down to the end, whereafter they shake hands and part ways.
The stencil is designed to be used with minimal adult supervision, but Soul Shoppe does offer a comprehensive guide on how to make the most of your students’ use of the Peace Path.
Don’t miss out on a chance for your students to resolve conflicts before they ever happen!