Ecole Victor Hugo
Location: Colombes, Hauts-de-Seine, France
Number of Students: 400
Status : Public
Over a number of years, at the Victor Hugo School in Colombes, northwest Paris, headmaster Kamel Essaied has established a system of mediation for playground disputes. Pupils attend to conflicts and seek to resolve them on the spot, on their own terms.
Recognizable in the school playground in their hi-vis vests, looking just like adult professionals, these young voluntary mediators undergo a training of 25 one-hour sessions before they can put what they’ve learned to work to help their young peers. They must keep in mind that they don’t have the solution to a conflict; their task is to facilitate a sometimes difficult dialogue, without the intervention of the playground monitors.
According to the school’s headmaster, the method is a success: violent incidents are now a thing of the past, and all the children can develop a better sense of empathy by finding common ground in the midst of conflict.