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Teachers notes Preventing bullying pages 70–81 (continued) Provide a firm base for young children In order to help young children grow into socially-competent, empathic adults who can cope with bullying and avoid becoming bullies, it is important to: • provide positive environments where individuals are free to express their feelings and be themselves – Young children should feel safe and comfortable in their home and classroom and know that they belong. They should feel free to be themselves, be able to play often and know their boundaries. They should feel they can express their feelings and concerns to peers or adults with whom they interact positively. Adults within their immediate circle should be supportive and a positive influence on the children by the example they set.

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• build self-esteem and develop a sense of one’s own worth – Children should be able to express something which is special about themselves, and know that others can see this as well. They should be praised often and feel free to take risks, knowing that even if they fail, at least they tried (or ‘had a go’). Encourage the children to make positive self-statements: ‘I can do this if I keep trying’, ‘I can get this finished in time’, ‘I tried hard’, ‘I didn’t do very well this time but I know what to do now, so I can do better next time’.

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Train them how to make good decisions: to stop before making a decision, think about why they want to do it, what the choices/options are, what the consequences are, how the decision will affect others, and whether the decision is in their best interests. After making a decision, children need to learn to judge if it was a good choice or not, thereby giving them a basis for better decision-making next time.

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• build self-resilience – Teach the children life skills, and praise them whenever they use them. They may learn to clean their teeth and dress themselves at home, but at school they can help to give out paper and other supplies, collect and give out lunches, blow their nose, tie their own shoelaces, peel their own banana, open their own lunch box and care for their own belongings.

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• develop a sense of empathy for how others feel – Empathy is the ability to understand the feelings of others. Young children can be very egocentric. To some extent, they consider that the world revolves around them. Some simple strategies may be used to develop a sense of empathy in young children. Children need practice in recognising and learning about emotions in everyday situations. Ask them to identify the sad/happy/ angry/excited face of a child or adult in a picture, photograph, DVD or movie. Ask ‘How are they feeling?’, ’Have you ever felt sad or happy or excited?’, ‘When?’ Daily situations which arise in the classroom or playground may require an adult to ask, ‘How would you feel if someone did this to you?’

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Children learn by observation and experience. Teachers, parents or adult helpers need to demonstrate empathy for the children and others they come into contact with. This provides a good role model for the children to copy. • develop tolerance and an appreciation of similarities and differences in others – Lead by example. Demonstrate that you appreciate the similarities and differences in each child and other adults. Avoid stereotyping. Talk positively about people who are different from you. Provide opportunities for the children to interact with children of diverse cultures and play games from different cultures. Consider carefully which books, toys, music, art or videos children will be exposed to. Acknowledge differences and similarities within families. Celebrate the uniqueness of different cultures by holding multicultural days, lunches or special visits and learning about different holidays and religious celebrations. Above all, help the children to feel good about themselves. They should respect themselves as much as others.

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Bullying in a cyber world

www.ricpublications.com.au – R.I.C. Publications®

Bullying in a Cyber World: Ages 6-8  
Bullying in a Cyber World: Ages 6-8  

The blackline masters cover the following: What is bullying?, Forms of bullying, Cyberbullying, Targets of bullying, Effects of bullying, Wh...