By Kirsten Petersen, published in, March 5, 2015.

Problems are solved by bullying, fighting and using “bad words,” according to a group of third graders at Thomas Stone Elementary School.

But when Mount Rainier resident MJ Park, the co-founder of nonprofit Little Friends for Peace, visited the Mount Rainier school for a month of workshops, she offered them a “new toolbox to navigate their live” — one that was firmly grounded in peace.

“What we’re trying to do is interrupt that violence with skills for peace,” Park said. “If we aren’t teaching them the alternatives to violence, we aren’t doing our jobs.”

Park led four workshops for two groups of third-graders in February in reading teacher Jes Ellis’ class. Park introduced the students to iconic “peacemakers,” such as Martin Luther King Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi, and taught them non-violent strategies to resolve conflicts. She also helped students remember what they had learned by teaching them a “peace pledge” and offering incentives such as the chance to be a “car” on a cardboard “peace train.”

Read the full article here.