Taking a stand
March 16 is the National Day Against Bullying and Violence. At Sherpa Kids St Paul’s our children have spent two weeks conversing with educators and their peers about the definition of bullying, why people choose to engage in bullying behaviour, how to respond to bullying and what you can do if you are bullied or if you see someone being bullied.
Educators from Sherpa Kids implemented the Australian Government’s Bullying. No Way! resources and lesson plans found on the Bullying No Way website, with a special focus on understanding that if we can recognise bullying and talk to people about it when it occurs, we will be taking a positive stand together to create safe environments for children to play and learn.
The children worked in year groups and each day over the course of two weeks they had a question put to them which they discussed, and we recorded their answers and put them up on display. The cool thing about this is that the children were seen several times approaching the wall and reading comments that they or others had made, and showed their parents and teachers who came through the service all of the great work they had been doing across the week.
wonderful, and sad, and uplifting, and frustrating – it was evident in our talks that the children had all experienced either themselves or others being bullied.
Will it work?
But was the program effective? We think so, and here’s why.
We interviewed students after each session to ask them what they got out of the discussions they had. These interviews were wonderful, and sad, and uplifting, and frustrating – it was evident in our talks that the children had all experienced either themselves or others being bullied.
They all continue to talk about the content even now that we’ve moved on to other topics, and they continue to refer to the fact sheets and information that we have chosen to leave up around the service to let children who may be struggling know that they are not alone.
One child in particular who I was convinced did not engage at all with the material took it upon himself to provide our National Operations Manager with a fully guided tour of our service when she dropped in for a visit, and took the time to point out our bullying awareness display and talked at length about the content we had all worked together on in the two week period.
But don’t just take me at my word. The children of Sherpa Kids St Paul’s have spoken loud and clear, and we have recorded their words in this video: https://www.youtube.com/edit?video_id=IrkputkiALU&video_referrer=watch
Whole of family approach
Bullying can be a difficult topic to handle, between children who need help to learn how to manage their behaviour, and parents who are lost and just don’t know what to do next. The Bullying No Way website provides parents and carers with tips for what to do if you need help with your child being bullied, or if you learn that your child is doing the bullying.
The National Day for Action Against Bullying and Violence happens once a year, but we can take a stand together all year round. It’s worth having the conversation – you never know what you might learn, or how you might change a life.
Early childhood (ages 3-8) resources available here