Peace Learning Circles, an innovative program designed to teach peace skills to local elementary students, is holding a community meeting Thursday night to share the program's successes and map out its plans for the future. If you're interested in learning more about a great local program, check out tomorrow night's meeting (details below):
Here's a preview of the meeting from Sue Hollow, executive director of Peace Learning Circles:
Peace Learning Circles (PLC) is having a very important meeting tomorrow, March 18 from 4:30 - 6:30 at UW-Parkside.
The purpose of the meeting is to bring awareness of what PLC has accomplished since we began and what our vision is for the future, as well as an opportunity for PLC to network with people from the communities we serve.
Following the introduction of our history and vision for the future, participants will have the opportunity to participate in a brainstorming session.
We are also looking for partnerships, collaborations, stakeholders, and candidates for our Board of Directors and Advisory Board.
Anyone that is interested in participating, is welcome to attend. Space is limited. Please call or email to RSVP or for more information.
Peace Learning Circles Community Meeting
Thursday, March 18
UW-Parkside Student Center - Oak Room
Light refreshments served
Background on Peace Learning Circles
Since we began with our first pilot program in May, 2006, over 4400 students have benefited from our program in 21 elementary schools in Racine and Kenosha. One hundred and twenty-six 4th and 5th grade classes have participated in our Peacemakers Workshop.
The students participate in an experiential, five-hour workshop where they learn and practice pro-social relationship skills, values, teamwork, how to be a positive impact, how to resolve a small problem before it becomes a bigger problem, conflict resolution without violence, and how to be a peacemaker and peace mentor in the home, school and community. Following the workshop, each classroom receives three follow-up visits to reinforce what was taught at the workshops and teach new skills.
However, we realize that in order to have a real impact, PLC would need to expand to include all grades, K-5, as well as give additional training and support to all school staff and parents. In September of 2009, PLC began an all-school pilot program with two elementary schools in Racine and one in Kenosha. Students in all grades, kindergarten through 5th grade have participated in the PLC program in their classrooms. The teachers are receiving additional training so they can be role models to the students and incorporate the skills into their classroom environment. Parents are also invited to special meetings so they can learn the same skills that the students are using in the classroom and reinforce the skills at home, as well as support their use in the classroom.
Our main goals are to teach pro-social relationship and communication skills, values, empathy, compassion, and respect for every individual. We achieve this by teaching and reinforcing the concepts of teamwork, inclusion, compromise, listening, point of view, and “communication fouls”. With the understanding that conflict is a natural part of our lives, members of the community learn safe and effective ways to address conflict when it occurs and prevent the escalation that can lead to violence. Parents are also being taught the skills so they can teach the same behavior in the home. In addition to the schools we work with, PLC has offered an Outreach Program to 152 elementary schools in southeastern Wisconsin, so that schools that do not participate in PLC programs can implement some of the concepts and projects themselves.