Recently, in what has been a very busy month, I was in a small Wheatbelt town and had a very articulate young grade 3 student say to me, “Could you please talk to my Mum?” after I reminded students to tell their parents about the workshop that night. He went on to name 7 students from his class who were all allowed to walk to the Recreation Centre on their own and he felt he also should be able to.
I understand his mother’s concern, especially after I was informed that there was a known perpetrator in the town, but I tried to help her understand that by teaching children Protective Behaviours we hopefully can help them to make informed choices, giving them to power to keep themselves safe or to become safer in situations where they are at risk. We can’t wrap kids in cotton wool because it does not teach them the tools they need to develop safe practices.
I have a feeling that this young man will be going away to boarding school in 4 short years, so he needs to take small and informed risks now. When he is away at school, he will not be under the watchful eye of his mum, he won’t necessarily have learned the necessary skills to survive.
While reminding the older students to ask their parents to come to the workshop I used the strategy of: How would it be if I could get your parents to stop saying, “Because I said so!”? All of the students agreed that they hated their parents saying that and they heard it all the time. With both the students and parents I used the example that if a child asks if they can sleep over at a friend’s house and the parent doesn’t want them to, not to say “Because I said so!” as a reason for refusal, but to say “I have my Early Warning Signs”, or “I don’t know that family”, or “I feel unsafe about you being there as they have much older siblings” and things like this, which are reasons, not blanket statements. Saying “Because I said so!” closes down a conversation or, even worse, ends up in a huge argument. We need children to understand that, “Everyone has the right to feel safe all of the time”, and that includes parents.
Another of the points I have been making with parents lately is with the second Theme “We can talk with someone about anything”. One of the anything’s is Sex. According to the latest research from La Trobe University of Victoria children want to learn about sexual health from their parents. A wonderful free resource available to parents is a book called ‘Talk soon, Talk often’. This is a guide which teaches parents to be able to speak with children about this sensitive subject, especially when the advice is to begin as early as possible. Some parents may find it hard to have these conversations with their children, but just keep in mind that if you don’t talk with them about it, there are plenty of other people who will. Do you want them having those conversations with others and not getting the right messages or worse? According to a recent study of 3000 young adults aged 13 to 17, 70% said they were learning sex education from watching pornography. This is an alarming fact and is also one of the anything’s parents need to speak with their children about. http://www.public.health.wa.gov.au/2/1276/2/parentcaregiver.pm
Globe Good Foundation has just launched an international education campaign aimed at children. The campaign is called, 'Minute of Noise', and it involves schools, companies and organisations getting together and making one minute of noise to encourage kids to speak out about domestic violence. This is done in a very age appropriate way, and the aim is not to upset or scare anyone, but rather to empower children and make them feel safer. It provides an ‘okay’ time to break the silence. The program is supported by a number of celebrities, including Vanessa Amorosi, Paulini and Bobby Andonov.
GGF goes into schools on a date chosen by them, gives an introduction, then children involved with the campaign are asked to make a minute of noise as loud as they can, to support fellow students and let them know that it is ok to speak out. This can be done through clapping, cheering, yelling or something more creative. Here is an example of what can be achieved. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FyEhW8oNID4
Do you know someone who has made an outstanding contribution in the lives of WA’s children? Nominations for the Children’s Week Awards close on the 19th September 2011.
The Awards also recognise adults and services or projects that have made an outstanding contribution to improving opportunities for Western Australian children (aged 3-12 years), families or the community.
This year award nominations can be completed online on the new Children’s Week website at http://www.childrensweekwa.org.au
There are great prizes to be won and everyone who nominates goes in the draw to win a family holiday.
For more tips and to keep up-to-date with other resources, you may like to follow me on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/Safe4Kids/118883254812505
Product of the Month
Early Warning Signs Banner:
These heavy duty white plastic 160 x 60 cm banners have the outline of a child, in either male or female, Aboriginal or Caucasian, and have an X stand - sturdy and complete with its own carry case - for presentation. Placing the banner on the floor or table the facilitator would get children to use whiteboard markers to draw on the banner, expressing what they know about the feelings a body experiences, and where on the body those feelings take place.
Once finished the banner is displayed on the X stand for discussion. There are no right or wrong answers, it is a useful tool for the teacher or facilitator to learn about the children’s levels of understanding, and they may wish to record certain information for follow-up.
The banner can be cleaned with dishwashing detergent or spray and wipe, and when dry rolled up and stored in its slim and easy to store cylindrical container for next time.
Early Warning Signs Banner EARCB1
Early Warning Signs Banner EARCG1
Early Warning Signs Banner EARIB1
Early Warning Signs Banner EARIG1
Price AUD $99.95(inc. GST)
I am very pleased to have Wooldridges working with me to get my products into schools and encourage everyone to support a company that helps independent publishers and embraces innovative new resources for teaching Abuse Prevention Education to children.
Visit their website at www.wooldridges.com.au to find a store near you!
Safe4Kids Training Programs
Holly-ann provides specialised training for teachers, childcare educators and parents to provide them with skills and practical ideas for teaching Protective Behaviours to children. You can begin to implement this program in your school, childcare centre or home with a basic training workshop - in two hours you can gain enough knowledge to immediately start teaching your children and begin modeling the language, concepts and strategies of Abuse Prevention Education.
Basic Training is a two hour professional development for teachers and childcare educators, presented by Holly-ann Martin as an introduction to her ten-week lesson plan.
Classroom Mentoring is also available for more detailed and practical training for teachers.
Parent Workshop is a two hour session packed with fantastic ideas for parents to begin practicing pro-active behaviour and language with their children at home.
Holly-ann is also available for customised in-house training and consulting by request.
If you would like more information about training, or would like to engage Holly-ann as a speaker at your event, please contact her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org