This week first grade teachers at nine Missoula County Public elementary Schools were given special training on how to play a game with their students. Multi-tiered Systems of Support coordinator for MCPS Carol Ewen says the hope is that the classroom game will help in a number of ways.

“The PAX behavior game is an intervention that we put in to the classroom that research has shown is really effective in reducing suicide, substance abuse, mental health issues and actually even special ed placement,” Ewen said. “It is really tools that a teacher uses to help teach students self-regulation and how to have positive interaction with their peers and adults.”

Ewen explains how the game is played.

"The teacher will divide them up in to sections for the game,” Ewen said. “They have an amount of time that they play the game and the teams that show appropriate behavior actually get the reward. The reward is usually something fun where they get to do 30 seconds of acting silly and the kids just love that. It is very simple. We teach them and they really have to think what is appropriate behavior and what is not. They set the vision for their classroom.”

PAX is the latin word for peace, which is the desired outcome from the game. Ewen says that the PAX Good Neighbor game will be played multiple times per week in Missoula classrooms from now on.