Last century, Mohandas K. Gandhi advised all of humanity to “Be the change we wish to see in the world.” After experiencing the horrific and bloody conflicts of the 20th and 21st centuries, it might be prudent to heed his call to action. For if it is true that all governments of the world declare their desire for peace and justice and if it is true that within the hearts of all of humanity is a yearning for tranquility and togetherness, should we not provide an education that teaches the principles of Restorative Justice, Conflict Resolution, and Peacemaking? At Seven Hills, we believe in such a mandate for our students.
In sixth grade, we teach our students how to communicate, form more wholesome relationships, to understand their own feelings and the feelings of others, all while understanding the link between their own thoughts, moods, and emotions with positive outcomes. Students learn to problem solve by recognizing, monitoring, and modulating their own thoughts and beliefs to produce a richer and more fulfilling life. Students learn how to approach life with a growth mindset, to understand the gift of adversity, and create more optimistic outcomes in their daily lives. In order to deal more effectively with stress, students learn cognitive and behavioral skills utilizing the techniques of mindfulness.
In seventh grade, the students move from their more self-reflective work in sixth grade to the peacemaking work of a community. We teach a deeper understanding of the dynamics of the conflict cycle, train students in the science and art of constructive conflict management, and finally instruct all students in the cooperative dispute resolution system. We believe that conflict is a normal part of being in any community and this conflict is usually the result of change and confusion. Yet, in each conflict there is danger or opportunity. We embrace the opportunity to build a more healthy community of students and faculty. Our peer mediators will have the skills to facilitate such positive resolutions and spread respectful behaviors. An in-depth analysis of the dynamics of bullying is also a crucial part of the curriculum.
In eighth grade, our students examine the strength of diversity, equality, and peacemaking in order to discovery the beauty of humanity. Examination of historical episodes of intolerance, ignorance, and suspicion are brought to light in order to help students create alternative methods of conflict resolution and gain a deeper understanding that acceptance and equality help us all grow and produce more positive outcomes in life. Great peacemakers from around the globe are introduced and studied for their philosophical understanding of peace and methodology of nonviolent resistance. Eighth graders seek a more perfect union in the world as they move away from the violent past dominated by the dynamic of “us vs. them” to a hope for the equality of all of humanity.