Bright Green is New Color of Kindness at Greenbriar

Peer Mediators Help Resolve Playground Conflicts
Posted on 11/08/2017
Peer Mediators at GreenbriarThere is a new team of students at Greenbriar School hoping to help their peers resolve conflicts and spread kindness. This team breaks off into pairs to patrol the playground at lunchtime recess, sporting bright green caps and at the ready to assist any students they see in distress.

They are the school’s first trained “Peer Mediators.” Launched by Meghan Dames, the school social worker, and Tracy Maness, a fifth-grade teacher, the program is a natural outgrowth from this year’s school “Kindness” theme and the overall social and emotional wellness program.

“It’s a really big honor to be picked,” said Lara, one of the 22 new peer mediators. The fifth-grade students were selected by teachers and staff and participated in a full day of conflict resolution training before earning their bright green “Greenbriar Peer Mediator” hats. Each of them gives up about two recesses per week to patrol the playgrounds for the lower grades.

While adults are always on the playground to monitor recess, having peers help with smaller conflicts helps make kids more resilient, Ms. Maness said.

Peer Mediator Claire agrees. “Sometimes there are unfair teams and kids get mad about it,” Claire said while she was trying on her new, bright green hat. “Only students know how to be in those shoes.”
Ms. Dames and Ms. Maness say they have seen similar programs in other schools have a big impact.

“There is less conflict overall on the playground. The mediators teach the younger kids strategies to solve their own problems, and for the older grades, it makes them more aware of what’s happening around them,” Ms. Dames said.

The first group of peer mediators at Greenbriar School.