The Women’s Center offers age-appropriate training using puppetry, art, music, story-telling and other interactive methods to teach young children about how to be safe.
Bullying Prevention (3 year olds) – Identifying Feelings
This program develops critical developmental assets such as feelings identification, empathy, healthy communication and social skills, strong self-esteem and the ability to influence your environment to aid in the prevention of bullying behavior.
Through puppetry, art, music, story-telling and a small-muscle activity, children learn to: identify their feelings, recognize the feelings of others, and communicate feelings and respond to others’ feelings in healthy ways. This lesson includes an exercise on anger-management.
Boundaries, Bullying and Touches
Designed to be a non-threatening, interactive learning experience, this multi-session program builds on the idea that just as we have safety rules for crossing the street, riding in a car, or reacting to a fire, there are similar strategies for keeping our feelings and bodies safe. All students receive activity packets and paper bag puppets for home reinforcement of safety concepts. This program consists of two presentations, Safe Touch, Unsafe Touch and Bullying, described below, which can also be offered individually.
Safe Touch, Unsafe Touch
In puppet show format, children discover the difference between safe touches (like hugs and kisses), unsafe touches (like kicks and hits, or someone touching their private parts or asking them to touch their private parts – private parts being “the parts of your body covered by a bathing suit”) and confusing touches (like being hugged when they don’t want to be hugged, being tickled for too long, etc.) The puppet introduces the concept of personal boundaries (within the context of privacy, safe space and individual rights) which everyone needs to respect and teaches children how to trust their own feelings and gut instincts and find age-appropriate ways, both physical and verbal, to assert their right to feel safe. Children also identify helping sources in their environment (like teachers, parents, neighbors, etc.) and how to access them.
Puppet Zach or Maggie is having a problem with bullying behavior at school and asks the children to help solve it. Through group conversation, the children help define the problem as bullying and come up with assertive options to handle it. The puppet/child who is bullying is also introduced and explains her or his motives and, when realizing how the impact on the victim, identifies ways to stop this behavior. This program explores children’s options as targets, bystanders (up-standers), and persons practicing bullying behavior, and how we can all work to stay safe.
Interactive Book Reading
The Women’s Center also offers an alternative training using a trained actor/facilitator who reads to students in an exciting and memorable way with the goal of empowering the children. We utilize acting and voice techniques to bring books and characters to life in a lively, animated reading style that fully engages children while teaching about issues of bullying and safe/unsafe touch. Following the reading is a discussion of the characters and the issues the book presents along with activities, such as role-playing. Through these stories, students learn empathy, healthy and effective communication, boundary setting, the definition of bullying and safe vs. unsafe touching as well as to whom to go for help.