The Peace Center believes in creating safety in our schools: physically, emotionally, socially, and morally so that students will excel academically. Our peace education programs promote an environment of trust, cooperation and respect. Toward this end we foster emotional and social intelligence. The natural outcome of this increases school attachment and academic performance.
Society teaches girls at a young age to avoid conflict. Rather than confronting problems, girls tend to channel their hurt and anger, and often resort to relational aggression. Recent studies have found that relational aggression among girls begins as early as preschool!
Relational aggression harms others by damaging, manipulating, or injuring an individual’s relationships with his/her peers. It includes such hurtful behaviors as gossiping, spreading rumors, exclusion, and power struggles. Most relational aggression takes place within intimate social circles, and occurs predominantly among girls. Girls often use friendships as a weapon to threaten or damage another person’s feelings of social acceptance. The lasting effect of relational aggression includes anxiety, loneliness, depression and low self-esteem, which can lead to suicide ideation, isolation, cutting, etc.
By recognizing and addressing the hurtful covert behaviors of peer aggression, we can promote a positive and productive environment in our schools and in our communities.
Our Girls Unlimited program is designed to provide 6th and 7th grade girls with an open and safe forum for discussion of the issues and pressures that face them in these volatile times. In addition to giving girls the opportunity for personal expression, the goal of the program is to provide an environment where they can develop social/emotional awareness, empathy, and responsibility within the context of demonstrating respect for self and others.
The program can be delivered on five consecutive days. Each lesson takes one hour and is delivered by a trained educator from The Peace Center. Or it can be delivered over the course of two days in two, two and a half hour sessions, or three times per week for two weeks.
Through personal shared stories, fun activities, discussions, and role-plays the girls will learn the following:
• How to recognize their own emotions and treat themselves and others with kindness and respect.
•Practical ways to manage their anger or upset
•How to intervene when witnessing relational aggression
•The meaning of self-respect and self-care
•The value of trust
•The importance of women bonding together
We believe that teaching young people emotional intelligence is as critical to their development as teaching them math, science, and social studies. One does not become a good citizen of the world without instruction, expectation, and role models. The messages bombarding girls today are not always positive ones. The pressure to be thin, sexy, and yes, sometimes mean, is in our magazines, on television and on the Internet. It is our hope that The Peace Center can combat some of those messages by empowering young women to be their best, most peaceful selves.
For more information about Girls Unlimited, contact Karin Kasdin at firstname.lastname@example.org.