Cool School - Peer Mediation programme

The Cool Schools Peer Mediation Programme teaches students and teachers how to use conflict scenarios as an opportunity to build positive relationships with others.  Non-violent, constructive, co-operative, WIN/WIN solutions to a problem are negotiated.  Agreements are made which are mutually acceptable to all parties concerned.  When implemented as a whole school programme, it has a positive impact, not only on students, teachers, and parents, but also for the wider school community.

The programme was written in 1991 by the Peace Foundation and, due to its success, has been introduced to over two-thirds of all schools in New Zealand.  There is growing interest and demand for the programme both nationally and internationally.  The programme, has already been introduced to schools in Australia, Fiji, Pakistan, and Hong Kong.

Schools successfully implementing the programme report that 80-85% of minor disputes are settled permanently by students acting as peer mediators helping to make the school environment (both playground and classroom) a happier, safer, more peaceful place to be.  Students are providing a service for other students as "peace-keepers".  They are modelling skills and processes which will last a lifetime and are readily transferable to the home, workplace, community, and beyond.  Riverview School implemented the programme in 2010.

The Cool Schools Programme:
  • Helps individuals develop life-long conflict management skills
  • Focuses on building positive relationships with others
  • Creates win/win situations for students, teachers, parents, caregivers and the wider community
  • Provides life skills for school, home and the workplace
  • Empowers students to help other students
  • Is proactive, helping to prevent bullying and other levels of conflict
  • Provides a better learning environment
  • Fosters the development of self esteem and leadership skills
  • Enhances both inter-personal and intra-personal communication skills

The Cool Schools Programme develops key skills such as:
  • Active listening
  • Using "I" statements and affirmations
  • Recognising different types of responses to conflict
  • Effective questioning
  • The role of the mediator
  • The mediation process (including a process for junior students)