Playground: Conflict Resolution Time Machine
How to Use the Conflict Resolution Time Machine on the Playground
The Time Machine provides a way for children to “go back in time” to re-do hurtful interactions using new, helpful language. It is an entire conflict resolution and assertiveness training program condensed into seven practical steps that are used with students who’ve infringed upon each other immediately following the conflict. Regular use of the Time Machine is the key to bully prevention and victim empowerment. With the many opportunities for conflict the playground presents, having a Time Machine on hand is essential to children’s growth and learning.
The vinyl canvas Conflict Resolution Time Machine coaches children and adults through the necessary steps for resolving conflict in a healthy way. The assertive language used with the Time Machine is supported by the story in Shubert’s BIG Voice, is discussed in the NEW Conscious Discipline Expanded & Updated book, and is detailed with activities in Chapter 12 of Creating the School Family. The Time Machine process is:
Step 1: Roll back time. Have the participants and the class (when applicable) roll their hands backwards signifying going back in time.
Step 2: Are you willing? Ask for willingness. “Are you willing to solve the problem so everyone in the class can learn helpful ways?” If willing, the victim stands on the “I don’t like it” side of the mat, and the aggressor on the other side.
Step 3: Breathing star. Be a S.T.A.R. Everyone Smiles, Takes a deep breath And Relaxes.
Step 4: Tree of hearts. Wish each other well. Everyone places their hands on their hearts and offers well-wishes to each other.
Step 5: 1-2-3. Focus on the goal. The adult and/or the class chants, “1-2-3,” and the participants respond, “Let’s do it,” to build unity.
Step 6: Sentence starters. Coach the children to use helpful words. Have the victim speak first using the sentence starter printed on the Time Machine. “I don’t like it when you ____. Next time, please______.” Help children reframe their thoughts to show how they want to be treated. Instead of, “Stop it,” teach phrases like, “Next time say, Move please, instead of pushing me.”
Step 7: Hearts and globe. Connect to repair the bond and show there are no hard feelings. Participants connect with a handshake, a hug, a high-five or other connection.
Music that supports the Time Machine includes “BIG Voice” and “Turn Back Time” on Kindness Counts.