The emotional and physical wellbeing of our students is pivotal to their success at school, as adolescents, and in their future lives. Physically and emotionally healthy students are happy, able to deal positively with life’s challenges, experience a sense of connectedness with the school and others, and are well placed to develop into well-balanced and successful young adults.
A summary about our 2017 Welfare programs are discussed below.
- Delivery of a broad range of Welfare programs to support student engagement, connectedness and address needs
- Delivery of a range of Parent PD programs consistently throughout the school year
- Introduce programs to depth our welfare for students. See new initiatives like Positive Psychology. Mindfulness Meditation, M-Power for girls and Revved Up for boys.
- Future Projects include an expansion of Literacy, Numeracy and Science Support and Enrichment and Extension and student leadership initiatives.
Student Engagement Strategy:
At Eltham North Primary School student engagement has three interrelated components: behavioural, emotional and cognitive engagement.
Behavioural engagement refers to students’ participation in education, including the academic, social and extracurricular activities of our school.
Emotional engagement encompasses students’ emotional reactions in the classroom and in the school and measures a students’ sense of belonging or connectedness to our school.
Cognitive engagement relates to a students’ investment in learning and their intrinsic motivation and self-regulation.
The Department of Education is committed to providing safe, secure and high quality learning and development opportunities for every student in all Victorian schools.
At Eltham North Primary we believe students will reach their full educational potential when they are happy, healthy and safe. The positive school culture is respectful, fair and students are engaged and supported in their learning.
To relate to and be consistent with the ‘Effective Schools are Engaging Schools:
Student Engagement Policy Guidelines focus on areas such as the encouragement of educational achievement and excellence, prevention of absences and discouraging inappropriate behaviour.
At Eltham North PS we will ........
Foster a healthy school culture in which high levels of achievement take place within a positive social Environment.
Provide students with a safe learning environment where the risk of harm is minimised and students feel
physically and emotionally secure.
Provide support for individual circumstances when a student begins to disengage from their learning, when
regular attendance is not consistent or positive behaviours are not demonstrated.
Maximise student learning opportunities and performance through ensuring students are engaged in their learning.
Provide genuine opportunities for student/parent participation and student/parent voice.
Build a school environment based on positive behaviours and values.
Provide both prevention (using cognitive, behavioural and emotional strategies) and intervention for all students at risk.
Whole School Behaviour Management Plan for Eltham North Primary School
This year, we are implementing a Whole School Behaviour Management System at Eltham North Primary School. The approach being implemented is known as Assertive Discipline. It will ensure consistency in the way teachers deal with student behavioural issues. I have outlined further information below:
Our 2017 Student Code of Conduct: Click here to download our two page flyer ..... Student Code of Conduct
What is Assertive Discipline?
• Assertive discipline is a structured, systematic approach designed to assist educators in running an organized, teacher-in-charge classroom environment.
• The teacher has the right to determine what is best for their students, and to expect compliance.
• No student should prevent you from teaching, or keep another student from learning.
• Assertive teachers are supported by a few clearly stated classroom rules that have been explained, practiced, and enforced consistently.
• They give firm, clear, concise directions to students to help them behave appropriately.
• Students who comply are reinforced, whereas those who disobey rules and directions receive consequences.
What does Assertive Discipline look like in the Classroom?
• At the start of the year, class rules are developed (with input from the students) - usually about 5 rules.
• Rules are prominently displayed in the classroom.
• At the start of the year, the rules need to be referred to regularly to ensure the students become familiar with them.
• Consequences for not following the rules are also made clear to students.
• A ‘staged’ response is used - with consequences becoming more severe if earlier consequences are not having the desired effect.
The following consequences will be applied (in order) if our class rules are not followed:
2) Move to another place within the classroom
3) Inside for 10 minutes of Recess / Lunch
4) Send to Principal / Assistant Principal
5) Parents informed
Severe Clause Send to Principal / Assistant Principal
At this stage, the consequence stages are reset each day after recess and lunchtime. This gives the child the opportunity for a fresh start and to improve their behaviour. However, if the behaviours continue, the consequence stages continue to be implemented in order.
If the child gets to the fourth stage and is sent to the Principal or Assistant Principal, the child’s parents will receive an <strong>email</strong> informing them that this has occurred. The email will briefly explain why the child reached this stage and ask the parent to contact the class teacher for further information.
Any student with a severe / persistent behavioural problem will require additional behaviour management strategies. These will be negotiated with the Principal / Assistant Principal.
It is also important to list the outcomes for those children who consistently follow the class rules. These may include:
• Positive comments by class teacher
• House / Table Points
• Positive notes sent home to parents
• Pupil of the Week award
• Individual or whole class ‘free activity time’
• Extra individual computer time
• Whole class outdoor game (eg. Kickball)
2017 Welfare Programs
Seasons is a program designed to assist children and their families in coping with the grief experienced through death or family breakdown. Seasons recognises that people may experience grief through separation and divorce, through life-threatening illness and death, through disability and deprivation or through a state of homelessness. Seasons aims to promote healthy and meaningful adaptation to loss and change. The program is facilitated by Stephen Hayes, a psychologist. The program is suitable for students in Years 3-6.
Prevention of Anxiety and Depression for Children - The FRIENDS Program was created to assist children to learn important skills and techniques to cope with and manage anxiety. FRIENDS is a well-researched innovative program based on a firm theoretical basis. The theoretical model for the prevention and early intervention of anxiety and depression addresses cognitive (mind), physiological(body) and learning (behaviour) processes which are seen to interact in the development, maintenance and experience of anxiety. The skills and techniques associated with these three areas have been used extensively in the prevention and treatment of anxiety disorders in children. The program runs weekly for 10 weeks and is facilitated by Stephen Hayes. The program is suitable for children in Years 2-6.
Cogmed: Does your child:
- Become easily distracted when doing something not highly interesting?
- Have trouble waiting his/her turn?
- Struggle with reading comprehension or doing maths calculations in his/her head?
- Struggle with getting started or with completing a task?
- Have difficulties when planning and organising something with multiple steps?
- Lose belongings frequently?
- Often seem restless and on the go?
If you answered ‘yes’ to most of these questions, it is possible that you child may have difficulties with their ‘working memory’. Working memory is a system for temporary storage and manipulation of information, necessary for a wide range of cognitive tasks. It is the ability to keep information in your mind for a short period of time (seconds) and be able to use the information in your thinking.
Last year, we trialled a computer-based program called Cogmed, a ‘working memory’ training program. Participants accessed the program for 30-45 minutes daily for a period of 5 weeks - ie. 25 training sessions. Further information about the program can be found on the website: www.cogmed.com.au
The results of the students who participated in Cogmed last year were excellent. As such, we are offering the program again this year. As the program is quite costly and also requires a staff member to supervise and support their progress, there will be a fee for those that are selected to participate. However, the cost will be significantly less than the cost of accessing the program privately. If you feel that this program could be of benefit to your child and would like to register your interest, please contact me via email (through Compass). Before any decisions are made, a comprehensive screening process would be completed to ensure that the program is offered to suitable candidates.
Transition Programs: Eltham North Primary School runs transition programs for Kindergarten - Prep students and for Year 6 – Year 7students
Kinder– Prep Transition Program:
The Kinder – Prep Transition Program aims to facilitate the transition from kindergarten to school as smoothly as possible. Various activities are held to achieve this.
Kinder Story time sessions are held in August – September where children are invited to attend a session at the school’s library, where one of the Prep teachers or Support staff read a story and prepare an activity for the children to complete. This gives the children an opportunity to meet some of the teachers and gain a sense of familiarity with the school. Parents stay for these sessions, too, so the children feel comfortable.
The Transition program involves the children attending 3 sessions at the school. The children participate in a variety of fun activities designed to familiarise them with the Prep teachers, support staff and the Prep classrooms. Parents attend an information session with the principal during these times. An information evening for parents is also held where various school personnel discuss different aspects of the school and its programs. A comprehensive school handbook is provided to all families to acquaint them with the various school procedures and programs.
Transition to Secondary School Program
The Transition to Secondary School Program involves all Year 6 students learning about life at secondary school. The sessions include anxieties at starting in a new school, issues of concern for students, peer relationships, goals, assertiveness, problem solving, decisions and choices, and the organisation of secondary schools.
Each year some ex-Eltham North students in Year 7 from various secondary colleges return to share their experiences of secondary school. The sessions are run weekly for 5 weeks in Term 4 and are organised and run by Sharon Blackwell, the school’s Social Worker. In December, all Year 6 students get to spend an ‘Orientation Day’ at their future secondary school.
Lunchtime Activity Programs: The Lunchtime Activity Programs were designed to provide children with a variety of activities to participate in during the school’s lunch hour. Various activities are planned with each activity being co-ordinated by a teacher. Some of the activities include: playing board games, card-making, drawing, recorder group, yoga, environmental activities, choir, sports, bookworms and school magazine. These activities are open to students in various year levels each week, so that all students have an opportunity to participate.
We offer an expanding range of initiatives throughout the school. Read more ...
Eltham North Primary School utilises the talents of many highly skilled people to coordinate and implement highly valuable Support programs for students. Summarised below is a list of the Support Services team for 2010 and the roles associated with the services provided.
2017 Support Programs and Support Staff.
Stephen Hayes is a registered Psychologist and is available to provide psycho-educational assessments. These assessments aim to determine the nature of a child’s learning difficulties and provide resources and support to the child’s teachers and parents. Assessments can also be completed for high-achieving students to determine their intellectual strengths. Stephen is also available to provide short-term counselling to students and parents for issues that may affect a child at school.
Stephen Hayes (Child and Educational Psychologist) and Terese Kenneally is the (Educ. Psych. - Department of Education and Early Childhood Development) are available for short-term counseling to students and parents for issues that may affect a child at school.
Speech and language pathologists with the Department of Education are available for speech and language assessments and short-term speech therapy. Renee Bell is a speech and language pathologist and is available to provide expressive and receptive language assessments. She runs the Expressive / Receptive Language Program for individual children / small groups of children with language-related difficulties.
Danni DI Ferlita is our O/T with the Department of Education.
Visiting Teacher Service
The Visiting Teacher Service supports students who may have a hearing, visual, physical or health impairment. These teachers visit Eltham North Primary School weekly to work with these students and support their class teachers and parents.
Program for Students with Disabilities
The Program for Students with Disabilities aims to support students with a recognised disability by providing additional resources to support these students at school. These students are usually supported with an integration aide to work with them individually and within the classroom. Students may be eligible for assistance under the Program for Students with Disabilities if they meet the criteria for any of the following: Intellectual Disability, Severe Language Disorder (with critical educational needs), Visual Impairment, Hearing Impairment, Physical Impairment, Severe Behaviour Disorder and Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Deb Edwards, Kylie Davies, Moira Wilkins, Sharon Burch, Nicole Johnston, Leann Lupton, Danielle Craigie, Eryn Flynn, Tracey Scott are employed as Integration Aides at Eltham North Primary School.
Bounce Back Resilience Program
Resilience Program for students. Our journey began in 2003 with the introduction of 'You Can Do It' program. To further explore and depth learning, resilience and tolerance we introduced BB in 2006. In 2015 we introduced KidsMatter.
Bounce Back maintained all facets of curriculum programs and delivery.
The core pro-social values of co-operation, achievement, respect and empathy are universal values that are linked to the development of resilience. These values also help young people to be connected to their family, peers and teachers. The Core Values of the Bounce Back Program were strongly aligned with the 4 Values of Eltham North Primary School. In the first few weeks of this year, teachers and children participate in a variety of activities to help establish these values in our classrooms. These values also help students to understand appropriate behaviour and how to relate effectively with others. The Core Values unit teaches children how to behave in ways that reflect the following values:
· Co-operation: sharing and learning together
· Achievement: persisting and trying your best
· Respect: respecting ourselves, each other and the environment
· Empathy: treating each other with care and compassion.
Themes include: Integrity
Bad feelings always go away again.
Other people can help you to feel better if you talk to them.
Unhelpful thinking makes you feel more upset. Nobody is perfect.
Mistakes help you learn.
Concentrate on the good things and have a laugh
Everybody feels sad and worried sometimes, not just you
Bad times don’t last. Things always get better. Stay optimistic
Other people can help if you talk to them. Get a reality check
Unhelpful thinking makes you feel more upset
Nobody is perfect - not you and not others
Concentrate on the positives(no matter how small and use laughter)
Everybody feels sad and worried sometimes, not just you
Blame Fairly – how much of what happened was because of you, how much was because of others and how much was because of bad luck or circumstances
Accept the things you can’t change, but try to change what you can first.
Catastrophising exaggerates your worries. Don’t believe the worst possible picture.
Keep things in perspective. It’s only one part of your life.
Information for Parents:
Here is the text copy of a PD session we held at our school for parents about 'building resilience', 'developing coping skills' and the Bounce Back program. It was a wonderfully insight fullearning experience for all..........
Young people have always needed coping skills to deal with life’s challenges, but there is an ever-increasing body of evidence from many different disciplines that suggests that the world of today’s young people is different from that of previous generations in four significant ways.
- Young people are more likely nowadays to encounter a greater range of difficult circumstances, negative events and down times than previous generations.
- They are less well equipped and well situated than previous generations to cope well with these challenges and downtimes.
- In response to such stress ors, they are more likely to turn to maladaptive strategies like overusing drugs and alcohol, behaving in an anti-socialway, and suicide.
- There is a relative epidemic of depression among young people that was not apparent in previous generations. The World Health Organisation predicts that depression will be the world’s leading cause of disability by2020. Being depressed makes it even more difficult for some young people to cope with normal but negative life events. However caused, depression itself can also become one of the hardships that a young person has to deal with.
The world of young people today
Children and adolescents still move through the same developmental stages as their parents and grandparents. Although developmental milestones haven’t changed much over many decades(with the exception of earlier puberty), the social and cultural factors that influence all children’s lives today have changed a great deal. These social and cultural factors make growing up in our society more challenging than ever before. Helping students to develop resilience to effectively cope with these challenges become imperative.
Childhood and youth depression
In the past childhood and adolescent depression was rare. In a recent large scale study of 9000 young people approximately 20% reported being depressed and having emotional problems, with girls twice as likely to report these problems as boys(Bond, 2000).
The rise in suicides, particularly among young males, has risen dramatically. In Australia, the suicide rate of males15-24 years of age has tripled in the past 30 years. For every completed suicide, it has been estimated that there are 50-100 unsuccessful suicide attempts.
Media exposure to the ‘awful facts of life’
The greater media exposure today means earlier and more widespread exposure to the‘awful facts of life’, such as acts of terrorism, wars, child abuse, murder and violence, than earlier generations. Many young people also experience the direct impact of this increase in violence and abuse.
Media images of ‘success’
Young people are constantly bombarded with global media images, especially in television and movies, of women who are physically attractive and thin and men who are highly dominant and influential. Many young people compare themselves and their own lives to these unattainable media images.
High social and cultural diversity
Now Australian families reflect much greater social, cultural and racial diversity than ever before in our history. Many children experience being members of minority groups, feel different to their peers and live in two cultures.
Changing family structures
Family life is less stable than in previous generations due to the increasing divorce rate (43%), the increasing number of de facto relationships, the increasing number of children bornout side marriage and the high rates of family relocation. Many children face challenges of changing family structures and greater demands on their competence to cope with these changes.
Changes in parenting
According to Martin Seligman (1995), one of the major reasons why young people are less resilient today than earlier generations is the change in parenting styles. He argues that parents in the last 25 or so years haveover-protected their children, and have focussed too much on trying to make their children ‘happy’. Many parents are more likely to take action to solve their child’s problems rather than helping their child to solve their own problems.
Fast pace of change
The young people of today are a web-surfing, text-messaging, emailing, mp3-ing, interactive, DVD literate, dot-comgeneration. Engaging and holding their attention in a learning context is more demanding than ever before. It is predicted that, on average our current students will have three different careers before they are 40and many will work in jobs that have not yet been created. This creates less clear-cut career paths and more demands for young people to be flexible and cope with change than ever before.
High youth unemployment in some areas
Economies are less stable and secure than in the past. There are high rates of unemployment and greater competition for jobs. High rates of unemployment, especially in the rural sector, correlate with high rates of youth depression and suicide. These changes mean that it is critical to ensure that our children have sufficient resilience to cope. So what exactly is resilience? This short video sums it up beautifully.
- There are many different definitions of resilience – all refer to the capacity of the individual to ‘overcome odds’ and demonstrate the personal strengths needed to cope with some kind of hardship or adversity.
- The construct of resilience emerged from developmental studies of ‘at risk’ children, showing that, despite encountering many life stress ors as they grew up, some children survived and even thrived.
- The resilience construct is a dramatic shift in psychological perspective from a deficit model to one that focuses on personal and environmental strengths.
Environments that Promote Resilience
The resilience research identifies protective processes and resources that make some young people more stress resistant and help them to develop strength, courage and positive mental health.
School Connectedness refers to the extent to which students feel they belong to a school that accepts, protects, and cares about them, affirms them as people with positive qualities, and provides them with meaningful and satisfying learning experiences.
Most young people look forward to seeing their friends, and enjoy having a sense of belonging to both a friendship group and the larger peer group. Schools can foster a sense acceptance, belonging and fitting in.
Feeling connected to their teachers helps students not only to experience more successful learning outcomes, but also to become more resilient and to stay at school, rather than drop out.
Positive Family-School Links
Students are more likely to be resilient and to learn more effectively when the family and school work together.
Young people who feel they are supported by their families, have parents who set and enforce rules in their homes and feel respected for their individuality while belonging to a stable and cohesive family are likely to be resilient.
One Caring Adult outside the Family
The adult may be part of the extended family, a family friend, youth worker or teacher. Caring about a young person means having a sense of concern and compassion for their wellbeing, through being a sympathetic listener and showing interest, respect and empathy.
Community Connectedness means positive participation in the life of the wider local community and a willingness to access community resources - schools, churches, youth clubs, sports clubs and other community institutions can provide an infrastructure for young people’s connection with their community.
People with spiritual faith report higher levels of happiness and lifesatisfaction and are more likely to recover emotional wellbeing after a negative life event than people without such faith. (There are many possible reasons for this – communities with shared spiritual values usually provide social support and connection for members as well as a sense of belonging and affirmation).
Personal coping skills that empower young people to act more resiliently
- Helpful and positive thinking skills and beliefs
(being optimistic, having a sense of purpose, normalising negative experiences, rational thinking)
- Being resourceful and adaptable
(being persistent; being able to set, plan and achieve realistic goals; solving problems creatively; being flexible, being able to ‘distance’ oneself from distressing situations).
- Social skills
(developing and maintaining supportive relationships)
- Emotional literacy
(managing own emotions and responding emphatically to others)
- Healthy self-esteem (having a realistic understanding of your own strengths and limitations)
Each of these personal coping skills is taught through the Bounce Back Program.
Why did we decide to implement the BounceBack program at ENPS?
The10 Bounce Back Topics include:
Core Values – Outlines the core values that underpin the program – CARE acronym
Co-operation, Achievement, Respect, Empathy
Elasticity – Investigating and experimenting with elastic forces
People Bouncing Back – Using helpful thinking and reality checks
Courage – Developing the skills and perceptions that lead to being more courageous.
The BrightSide – Focussing on the positive aspects of situations and accepting that bad times are temporary.
Emotions – Understanding that how you think about something can either exaggerate your feelings or help you cope.
Relationships – Skills for getting along with others and being accepted.
Humour – understanding how humour can help with coping.
Bullying – Skills for dealing with being bullied.
Success – identifying personal strengths
There are many strategies and approaches which schools and teachers can adopt to create more resilient schools and classrooms, where students feel valued, are engaged, achieve academic success, feel a sense of belonging and can learn personal and social skills.
Questions for parents to think about when considering their child’s resilience:
- Do you model resilience? (This is most important - ‘Bloody idiot’ ad)
- What coping mechanisms do you use now? (How did you cope as a child?)
- Do you tend to complain about things when your children are around? (Are you a victim? Do you model a victim mentality?)
- Do you usually keep things in perspective or do you catastrophise?
- Are you over anxious about your child’s ability to cope? (Children pick up very quickly when their parents are anxious. It sends the message that they, too, should be anxious because the world is a dangerous place).
- Do you spend sufficient time with your child to act as a ‘resilient’ role model for them? (Who else acts as a role model for your child? Are they good role models?)
- How do you use alcohol in front of your children? (Recent research shows that almost 50% of children who begin drinking before age 14 become alcohol dependent).
- Can you say ‘No’ to your child without feeling guilty? (If you can’t, start practising now!!)
- How does your child cope when they are feeling down? (Do they tend to internalise (withdraw or cry) or externalise(act out) when they’re distressed?)
- When your child is feeling upset, how do you help to ease their distress? (Is this a productive long-term strategy or an immediate quick-fix solution? Sometimes as adults, we try to overcompensate because we don’t like to see our child upset).
- Does your child willingly and openly confide in you when they are upset? (Do they see you as a valuable resource to help deal with the situation? Do they prefer to deal with things on their own? Do they not want or trust the advice they are going to get?)
- Do you give your child strategies to try to solve their own problems? (Are the strategies reasonable, given your child’s personality / maturity?)
- Do you talk to your child in a way so that they understand exactly what you mean? (Children are not ‘mini’ adults, but sometimes adults treat them as if they are. We say things like, “You’ll get over it” which doesn’t mean much to a 5 year old. We need to talk at a more concrete level. Young children don’t understand abstract concepts!
- Are you prepared to seek professional help if necessary? (psychologists – Medicare)
- Are you a helicopter parent? (Always hovering around your child)
Things that parents can do to build resilience:
- Teach your child appropriate social skills. If they are extremely shy, start small - saying hello, making eye contact, etc. Social skills are critical! There are some excellent books around to help teach your child good social skills.
- Invite children over to play at your house. This provides a comfortable environment for your child to practise some of the social skills and provides you with an opportunity to monitor their efforts.
- Involvement in community activities, sporting clubs, etc. is a great way to expand your child’s friendship network as well as teach them valuable skills.
- Discuss emotions with your child. Tell them how you feel about various situations or issues (positive and negative). Encourage them to tell you how they feel about various situations. The level of complexity will vary with the age of your child. Giving children the language to discuss feelings is very important. (‘I feel bad’ can mean ‘I feel frustrated, angry, sad, embarrassed, etc.’)
- Encourage your child to be independent. As a parent, sometimes we feel valued when we are depended on. Sometimes we feel sorry for our child and only want to help. However, we are really meeting our own needs by reinforcing this dependency. From Prep, we need to encourage our children to be responsible for putting their things away when they arrive at school (reader covers, communication folders, etc.) and unpacking their bag when they arrive home from school.
- Give your child an opportunity to develop a special skill – one that they are proud of.
- Give your child specific responsibilities at home – these will depend on age, setting the table, drying dishes, taking out recycling, etc. but every child should have responsibility for a particular job at home. It’s never too late to start)
- Monitor your child’s computer / internet usage. Limit the amount of time they are able to use the computer / internet. Computers with internet connection are hard to monitor if they are in kids bedrooms. (Cyber bullying has become a huge issue for schools. Monitoring your child’s usage will ensure they’re not a cyber bully or victim).
- Monitor your child’s DVD viewing. (DVDs that are rated M or MA are not suitable for primary school children, yet many primary-aged children have access to them. Regular viewing of DVDs that contain violence, drug use and sexual references desensitise children to these concepts. Children often don’t have enough maturity to process these themes adequately, resulting in distress or a skewed understanding of these issues. The same can be said for access to inappropriate video games).
- Monitor your child’s viewing of news stories. The evening news can show some graphic and disturbing scenes. If your child is old enough to watch the news, watch it with them, so that you can explain / discuss disturbing news stories. Behind The News (BTN) is a good show that explains some of the important current news stories in a more child-friendly format.
- Reinforce the BOUNCE BACK statements with your child. If you hear them saying things that are not consistent with the statements, remind them. Eg. “It sounds like you’re catastrophising – Remember, unhelpful thinking will only make you feel more upset”.
- Reading books that reinforce resilience themes is a good way to discuss relevant issues with your child. (It’s often easier to discuss issues when you can refer to the characters in a story, rather than the child directly).
Program content ~ in detail: Our Bounce Back unit for the start of this term is "Core Values?. The core pro social values of honesty, fairness, support, co-operation, acceptance of differences, respect and friendship are universal values that are linked to the development of resilience. These values also help young people to be connected to their family, peers and teachers.
The Core Values of the Bounce Back Program are strongly aligned with the 7Kid Friendly Values. In the first few weeks of this year, teachers and children have been participating in a variety of activities to help establish these values in our classrooms. Rather than simply expecting our students to behave appropriately, these values are explicitly taught. These values also help students to understand appropriate behaviour and how to relate effectively with others. The Core Values unit teaches children how to behave in ways that reflect the following values:
- Integrity: being honest, fair, responsible and loyal and socially "just?
- Co-operation: co-operating with others
- Acceptance of difference: accepting, respecting, living with and finding the positive side of differences in others
- Respect: respecting the rights of others, and acknowledging your own rights and responsibilities to others in a respectful way
- Friendliness: being friendly and socially responsible, and including others in games and conversations.
If you know that bullying is happening, act responsibly and tell someone.
Let a teacher know what is happening if you are aware that bullying is going on. This is not the same as dobbing, which is trying to get someone else in trouble. This is trying to help someone who is in trouble.
Our BounceBack unit for the first half of this term is ‘Bullying’. Some of the Key Learning Points for our Year 5/6 students include the following:
- Bad things such as bullying can happen to good, likeable people.
- If someone is being given a hard time, it doesn’t mean that they deserve it or that they are people you should dislike. People who get bullied are unlucky. Next time it could be you.
- Resist pressure from others to take part in harming other students.
- If you make the choice to be involved in the bullying of another student, even in a small way, you are responsible for your actions and will suffer the consequences. It is not okay to say ‘everyone else was doing it too’. If you do anything, however small, to take part in the bullying, then you help to keep it happening.
- Students have the right to feel safe and protected at school from psychological and physical attack. In the unit of work on bullying, the focus is on:
- Activities that portray bullying as an act of cowardice and weakness and those who bully others as ‘social predators’.
- Strategies for understanding and managing peer pressure to take part in harassment or to stand by and do nothing about it.
- Teaching the skills and attitudes that enable bystanders to support those who are being mistreated with minimal risk to themselves. Also teaching bystanders to act responsibly by letting a teacher know what is happening, if necessary.
- Activities that teach students the escalating skills needed to respond to social predators at various points in a bullying situation. Initially, these skills relate to methods of staying safe by not attracting attention and identifying and avoiding situations that contain danger. If the mistreatment continues, they need the skills of outsmarting and escaping from the predators and being assertive by giving the bully warning to desist. At the very least the student needs skills at this point of ‘maintaining face’ in order to sustain a sense of self-respect, dignity and empowerment. Lastly, if the situation continues for a long time without resolution, they need the skills of acting responsibly and asking for help in dealing with the situation from a teacher.
The‘Bullying’ unit remains our focus in Bounce Back for the rest of this term. Reading stories about issues that children are dealing with is often an effective strategy for opening up discussion about the issue, providing an opportunity to see things from a different perspective and providing alternative strategies that the child can try. I have included a list of the some of the titles recommended by the Bounce Back program as suitable for discussing issues related to Bullying. Many of these books are available from the Eltham Library. Visit the Department website to learn more about 'managing bullying issues'. Go to www.bullyingnoway.com.au
Lower / Middle Primary
Willy the Wimp
The Three Billy Goats Gruff
A House for Hermit Crab
Hey Little Ant
Hands are not for Hitting
Nobody Knew What to Do
The Recess Queen
Danny’s Egg (novel)
My Cat Maisie
Chameleons are Cool
The Brand New Kid
Bully for You
Buzzard Breath and Brains
Let the Celebrations Begin
I am Jack (novel)
Walking Naked (novel)
The Dare Club (novel)
Our current Bounce Back unit, People Bouncing Back, explores the concept of resilience. Frequently, what helps people ‘bounce back’ is the way they think about a situation. As such, the Bounce Back program assists children to ‘re frame’ negative events realistically, rather than ‘catastrophising’ events. In this unit, children are taught the BOUNCE(Year Prep-2) or BOUNCE BACK (Year 3-6) acronyms. The BOUNCE acronym is reproduced below. Using these statements can give your child a sense of perspective when they are feeling down about something.
BOUNCEBACK – Courage is not presented as the absence of fear or distress. Courage is defined as the capacity to face threatening or difficult situations that cause fear or distress, without giving in to those feelings. It is a state of mind that enables us to try to overcome fear with some degree of confidence. Courage is an important life skill that can help young people be more resilient when faced with adversity. The focus of the unit is on:
- Understanding the differences between everyday courage, heroism, thrill seeking, professional risk-taking and foolhardiness.
- Understanding that fear is relative. What makes one person scared or anxious may not make another person scared or nervous.
- Developing the skills and perceptions that lead to being more courageous in many areas of one’s life. Over the next 3 weeks, discuss with your child what they understand about Courage. Discuss with them times when you have been courageous – and times when you have been not so courageous! What made the difference? Remember, feeling fear does not mean you are not being courageous – it’s persisting despite feeling the fear that makes it an act of courage!!