Haverford Friends School implements anti-bullying program

HAVERFORD, Pa. - December 9, 2010

For the kindergarten students at the Friends School Haverford, resolving conflicts is as simple as sharing and learning how to play nicely. Their teacher uses stuffed animals and an Ice Cream Cone model to teach the 5 and 6 year olds how to work through their problems one "scoop" at a time.

With the model, the children learn how to first talk about the problem.

"The next thing that needs to happen is an agreement to listen to each other," asks one teacher.

They are then taught to share their feelings, think of solutions, agree on a strategy, and then try it out to solve the conflict.

"If you knew a classmate was being treated unfairly, what would you do?" asks teacher, Karen Teel.

By the time they become 5th and 6th graders, they have more answers to peaceful problem solving.

"I want to know why you're doing it?" asks Sophie Samaha. "I would ask the person that is being bullied if they knew why the person was bullying them."

During classroom role-playing they learn to stave off more serious conflicts.

They learn there are no innocent bystanders, and that everyone has a responsibility to help solve a conflict even if they're not involved in it.

"It would send a message saying that more than one person thinks this is not right, so you should stop this," said Griffen Lloyd.

"It is always better to resolve it as quick as possible, and to keep from going back and forth and starting an argument, because it can turn into something much bigger," said 6th grader Alanna Miller.

"The students that leave this school go on to their next schools and they become leaders in that school and they become problems solvers and peace maker," said Karen Teel.

The teachers say they are thrilled when students come to them about a problem they've already worked out on their own. It gives them ownership.

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