Another good practice example of mediation for inclusion in education is the VERSO program. VERSO brings restorative methods to everyday activities for professionals in early childhood education and teaching, as well as for children and students. Within this program, mediation takes place as a voluntary peer activity for students and as part of the daily work of the staff. The activities of the program is linked to their daily lives.
The restorative approach strengthens a culture of conciliatory action. Restorative mediation provides an alternative method of peace-building and resolving conflicts between students and between teachers and students in everyday activities. Mediation is a clear operating model through which school staff members and students trained as mediators help the parties themselves to find a solution to their conflict. The parties are allowed to share their views on what has happened, describe their feelings and consider different solutions. Following the model, they proceed to an agreement and the implementation, which is monitored.
The VERSO program supports the implementation and maintenance of mediation activities through training, materials, digital materials, podcasts, video and social media channels, seminars and events. In addition, regional mentor groups take care of the regional maintenance and development of activities, taking into account regional wishes and challenges. Similarly, regional projects (eg. security projects, anti-bullying projects, youth violence projects, etc.) co-operate and promote the establishment of mediation activities in the education and training field in the region. Mediation has resolved confrontations, increased tolerance and strengthened accountability, despite differing views among the parties. The program supports inclusion as it strengthens the community and the individual’s attachment to their community.
This program is carried out by the Finnish Mediation Forum Association Program in Finland and it is also well-known in serval other countries. For more information see: https://sovittelu.com/vertaissovittelu/in-english