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Teaching Resilience in the Wake of Climate Change

As the world changes, we are constantly evaluating our methodology and training to ensure that Play for Peace is meeting the needs of communities around the world. Since climate change is one of the major challenges our world is currently facing, we have realized that resiliency is an essential tool for anyone experiencing the effects of a natural disaster.

For this reason, in January 2020, we are hosting the first-ever Play for Peace Resilience Facilitation Training in the Sangli District in India. This area recently experienced unprecedented flooding, damaging schools and leading to symptoms of trauma among members of the community. The upcoming training is in collaboration with Kendra Bostwick, the founder of Kikori and our app partner, who is conducting research into our programs for her doctoral program, as well as Dr. Michael Gass of the University of New Hampshire. Together with Play for Peace executive director Sarah Gough and certified trainer Archana Magar, the group is working with UNICEF to provide psychosocial support to approximately 695 teachers in the area whose students are showing signs of stress as a result of the floods. The training curriculum will include activities and games that can help participants cope with trauma, which can then be replicated by teachers with children in their schools. Our hope is that the training will increase the resilience of these teachers to prepare for and cope with potential future emergencies, and that the activities and games will have the same effect on the children in their schools. 

What is a Play for Peace resilience facilitation workshop? Like our other trainings and practice peace sessions, the workshop is based on experiential learning and cooperative play. While our regular trainings are geared toward training youth with a focus on values such as cooperation, respect, tolerance, and inclusion, our resilience training is based on research around what tools children need to be resilient. During our workshop, teachers will learn games and facilitation methods around resiliency, including effective communication, empathy, coping with emotions, and dealing with stress and trauma.

As scientists predict more frequent and destructive natural disasters, our research into how Play for Peace programming can provide psychosocial support for staff, teachers, and children will be of great importance to the experiential learning field. After the January workshop, we will also share the resilience training with our clubs so that they have the tools to help their communities in the event of a new challenge or traumatic event. We hope that our work can not only continue to create compassion, connection, and community for children and youth around the globe, but also create resilient communities as the world experiences more and more of the effects of climate change.

Be sure to check back for the results of this exciting workshop!