Peace Learning Circles (PLC) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit educational organization. PLC teaches safe, nonviolent ways to deal with conflicts and differences. We focus on respect, values, teamwork, inclusion, empathy, unity and how to be peacemakers and peace mentors in the home, school and community.
1. Who is “Peace Learning Circles?
- Non-profit educational organization.
- Mission: to promote a culture of peace through education to youth and communities.
- PLC teaches safe, non-violent ways to deal with conflicts and differences. We focus on respect, values, teamwork, inclusion, empathy unity and how to be a peacemaker and peace mentor in the home, school and community.
- The Vision of Circles of Peace is that our homes, schools, and places of work, worship and play will be a welcoming and safe place where everyone is included, respected, and cherished. Perhaps we can make this a kinder, gentler world for our children.
2. What we do….
- 4th grade workshop – 5 hour day, followed by 3 follow-up boosters to review the skills taught and learn new skills.
- All-school program – all grades, K-5. Includes 3+ visits to the classroom. Includes teacher, staff and parent support and training.
- Outreach program - started in 2009 - Each school or class registers. Then we send the materials and the teacher implements them.
- Senior Program – Senior Living Apartments
- Community Programs – Include Circles of Peace, Cultural Education Series, presentations, workshops, forums and education for varied communities.
3. Since 2006:
- Over 9,000 students have participated in our programs from 31 schools in Racine, Kenosha and Walworth counties since we began in 2006.
- Included in our school programs are:
- Parent programs
- Teacher in-service
- Family nights, assemblies, open houses are also an option
4. Why we do this...
- “Take time out of the curriculum to teach students to manage their emotions and to practice empathy, caring and cooperation–their academic achievement could improve in the bargain.”
They improve significantly with regard to:
- Social and emotional skills
- Attitudes about themselves, others, and school
- Social and classroom behavior
- Conduct problems such as classroom misbehavior and aggression
- Emotional distress such as stress and depression
- Achievement test scores and school grades
Roger P. Weissberg, the president of CASEL, of Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning, a Chicago based group that sponsored the four-year study
- According to the California Healthy Kids Survey, (CHKS) the largest statewide survey of resiliency, protective factors, and risk behaviors in the nation, when students feel safer, they do better on tests, even after the influence of key variables –ethnic composition of the school, average parental education, household income, and school grade –is eliminated. “We all know that children can only learn to their full potential when they feel safe and secure at school and in their classroom.” - Tom Torlakson, California State Superintendent of Public Instruction
5. Consider this, beyond the classroom:
- Bullying has become the big catch phrase for this decade, But it has always existed. "Mean" kids can grow up to be "mean" adults.
- OSHA's statistics - 2 million American workers are bullied in the workplace each year leading to millions of dollars of lost productivity.
- Robin Bonifas, a gerontology expert at Arizona University - 20% of seniors are bullied in their homes every day. For seniors, it can lead to isolation, depression, loneliness and additional health issues. Mean kids grow up to be mean adults.
6. Statistics show:
- Homicide is the 2nd leading cause of death among 15-25 year olds, the leading cause of death for African-Americans.
- By age 18, most US youths have seen 16,000 simulated murders and 200,000 acts of violence.
- The average teacher we work with spends 40% of her class communication addressing student's behavior with disciplinary action.
- 89 people commit suicide every day in the US. That's one person every 16 minutes.
- Americans 65 and older make up 13% of the population, but almost a fifth of all suicides.
- Nearly 60 percent of boys who researches classified as bullies in grades six through nine were convicted of at least one crim by the age of 24. Even more dramatic, 40 percent of them had three or more convictions by age 24. ["Bullying Prevention is Crime Prevention," Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, 2003]
- Of children in sixth through tenth grade, more than 3.2 million--nearly one in six--are victims of bullying each year, while 3.7 million bully other children. ["Bullying Prevention is Crime Prevention," Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, 2003]
- Also known as psychological harassment or emotional abuse, bullying involves the conscious repeated effort to hurt or destroy another person, not with violence, but through words and actions.
- Bullying is a form of violence. It does not cause physical damage or broken bones, there is not blood or bruises. But it destroys the spirit, it breaks our hearts. And the damage can last a lifetime.
Typically, we view the issue of safety in our schools from the “outside-in” thinking, that keeping schools safe is primarily accomplished through heightened security, locked doors, stricter policies and safety assessments of the buildings and grounds. However, most of the bullying and violence is done in the schools themselves by students, to other students. There is another belief or POV, the “inside-out” approach that believes that the safety of a school is based on the social norms of the school culture and the school climate. The culture of the school and the school climate can be improved and changed in order to stop bullying and violence within the school.