“A child’s social experience at school can have a deep and lasting impact on their academics and overall wellbeing. If students are given an opportunity to learn how to intelligently navigate social differences on the playground - to reflect honestly on behaviour, listen respectfully, resolve, and move on - then they have not only learned an essential life skill, but may also see an improvement in grades, elevated levels of social confidence, and enjoy a thriving, positive school experience.”
— Lenni Jabour, FOUNDER
Our mission is to make children feel safe and included at school by providing simple mediation training to senior students and giving them positions of distinct leadership, so that they may guide younger students in resolving differences out on the playground.
Peaceful Playground accomplishes a few things…
First, senior students learn how to guide successful conflict resolution for junior students during outdoor time at school by being trained to use a simple behavioural model and a clear, consistent process. They receive a “certificate” after their training that designates them as the Peacekeepers of the playground. Through this leadership, seniors enjoy rewards and incentives through the school and gain a heightened sense of social responsibility, empathy and community. The program bolsters personal confidence for older kids who take on the “Peacekeeper” role; enhancing their overall school experience as they prepare for secondary education, and provides them with lifelong skills for effective communication.
Second, most junior students look up to the seniors they observe at school. With Peaceful Playground, juniors have the added benefit of learning deeply through their interaction with seniors, whose training has resulted in the ability to calmly guide conflict resolution with neutrality, helping to build and refine the juniors’ social skills and sense of community. Senior students in the Peaceful Playground program inevitably augment their role model status, thereby supporting the junior students’ feelings of security, belonging and happiness during outdoor time.
Finally, Peaceful Playground has a profound effect on school staff. With trained senior students providing additional leadership on the playground, staff members can focus on areas of work aside from resolving simple playground issues. Staff and senior students may notice their relationships shifting towards the more collaborative and cooperative throughout the program’s process, as the seniors become touchstones for the playground’s social sphere - their reliability and efforts recognized and rewarded by the school’s staff.
Peaceful Playground’s main goal is to vastly improve social outcomes at school and beyond, by learning and implementing critical social skills via a model that will strengthen a school’s community - with respect, recognition and inclusion at its core.
Everyone’s a peacekeeper.
Lenni began Peaceful Playground after spending time in her children’s excellent school and observing the social complexities that naturally occur during outdoor time. Through her extensive Suzuki Method teaching work with children and families, Lenni knew to have faith in the student community, and believed that with the right student training and support of all staff, the children could be in charge of making school a happier and safer place to learn and play.
Once a nanny in Nairobi, now a Toronto mom of two, Erika has spent a lot of time in playgrounds around the world. She believes all children have a right to free, inclusive, and positive play. But from time to time we all need to learn new skills to help keep the peace, kids included. Peaceful Playground is a labour of love and when she’s not volunteering here, Erika freelances as a professional writer and editor. She knows from experience that good things happen when we use our words.