In order to develop to their full potential, children need and deserve to be safe in their schools and communities. Unfortunately, violence in those environments is escalating and negatively impacting both their social development and their ability to learn.
The New Jersey Child Assault Prevention (CAP) project has joined with the Children’s Creative Response To Conflict (CCRC) program to address the problem of escalating school and community violence. CCRC is nationally recognized as the leading program in the area of conflict resolution. CAP has long been the model for protecting and empowering children through primary prevention education.
Their collaborative effort, drawing on the strengths of both programs, has resulted in the development of the Violence Prevention Through Conflict Resolution program (VPCR). Designed to be implemented through New Jersey Schools, the goals of the student VPCR program are:
- To encourage the development of a problem solving approach to conflict
- To enhance communication skills
- To build affirmation and cooperation skills
- To provide strategies for win/win conflict resolution
The VPCR program uses a three pronged approach which includes programs for school staff, parents and children. The program works best for children when supportive adults understand its concepts.
ADULT WORKSHOPS: During school staff and parent programs, adults will experience new ways to examine conflict and to develop solutions. School staff will learn how helping children to deal with conflict creatively may enhance their work. Parents will be introduced to a developmental model of conflict resolution, and learn strategies for win/win conflict resolution.
CLASSROOM WORKSHOPS: Five one hour workshops are facilitated by two CAP leaders. The classroom teacher is included in the workshop activities. Because children learn best in environments that are warm and supportive, the workshops are designed with the following format:
Warm-up Activities designed to affirm participants and build trust and community.
Agenda Reviews to gain student approval and ownership of the workshop experience.
Focal Activities that are primarily experiential.
Group Evaluation allowing students feedback and fostering ownership of the program.
Closing Activities designed to give students an opportunity to express their thoughts and ideas, and further the development of trust and community within the group.