Aug 22, 2012

Peace Chairs

My peace chairs were a solution to the huge tattling problem when I taught Kindergarten.  I finally realized the kids tattled for two reasons: 1) they want my attention and 2) they didn't have the social skills to deal with problems.  So I got two chairs (free from Scholastic-yay!) and introduced them as our Peace Chairs.  I taught the kids that they were special chairs only used to work out problems/practice communication skills, and taught the Peace Chair Process, which is...

1. Remove yourself from the situation
2. Listen to what the other person thinks and feels
3. Tell the other person what you think and feel
4. Decide together on a good compromise

(Yes, the word 'compromise' was big for a Kindergartner, but most new words are big for them-I just taught them what it means, like any other new vocab)

This process was posted right next to the chairs for them to reference.  Anytime there was drama, or tears, or someone was suddenly uninvited from a birthday party, they would head to the chairs while the rest of us continued with our day.  The two kids would follow the above process to come to a compromise everyone could be happy with, then they would report to me what they decided.  At first I was worried they would miss out on learning...until I used it and realized it usually only took 30 seconds or less.  Nearly every kid I've taught, Kinder through third, just wants a structured moment to be heard by the other person.  And if it does take more than a minute or two, the situation probably needs teacher intervention anyway.  It's been great for the kids to learn how to communicate positively and best of more tattling!

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