With today 16 March being the National Day Against Bullying and Violence and next Wednesday 21 March being Harmony Day in Australia, now is a good time to think about what it means to be a friend, what bullying is, and how to combat it. Of course, any time is a great time for developing friendship skills, but these special days help to raise awareness.
The purpose of the National Day Against Bullying and Violence is fairly clear in its title. Harmony Day is for celebrating cultural diversity. “It’s about inclusiveness, respect and a sense of belonging for everyone.” That sounds very much like friendship to me.
The development of social skills, including the friendship skills of getting along, can not be left to chance. The skills must be actively encouraged and taught. Children must learn what behaviour is friendly, what is not friendly and what is bullying.
The teaching of these skills and behaviours should not be left to one or two days of the year but integrated into the teaching program. In fact, the best way to encourage friendship and discourage bullying is through the implementation of policies that foster respect and acceptance in a school-wide supportive environment.
What is bullying?
Sometimes the word bullying is used to describe any aggressive or unpleasant behaviour. However, bullying does not refer to single, isolated incidents.
Bullying refers to acts of aggression that are repeated over time, involve an imbalance of power, and in which the one being bullied experiences harm, either physically or psychologically.
The important words to consider about bullying are:
ongoing, repeated, misuse of power, causing harm
Children need to learn that there are safe people they can talk to about incidents that occur, and they also need to learn strategies for responding to unkindness and bullying.
When discussing situations that involve bullying, it is important to describe the behaviour rather than to label a child as either victim or bully. Behaviour can be changed, but it is often difficult to remove a label once it has been applied.
The Bullying No Way website has some great resources to assist you in educating children about bullying and the prevention of bullying.
This week I have uploaded two new resources to support your teaching of friendship skills. These supplement other lessons and activities that can be found here.
This resource provides suggestions for teaching children friendship skills. It teaches them to identify the differences between friendly and unfriendly behaviour, to recognise bullying and to provide strategies for dealing with bullying that they may encounter personally or as an onlooker.
The resource includes:
- a story to use as a starting point for discussions about friendly and bullying behaviour;
- ideas for presenting the story
- questions and issues to discuss
- follow up activities
- games for developing friendship skills
- a poster to print and display.
Topics for discussion include:
- being mean
- being friendly
- the responsibility of onlookers or bystanders
- the need to talk to somebody safe
The purpose of this resource is to enable whole class discussion and stimulate imaginations for writing.
The resource contains a series of images and questions to get the children thinking about friendship, who can be a friend, and what friends do. The images focus on the unlikely friendship of a mouse and a crow. Children are asked to consider circumstances that may have led to these two being friends.
- slides to stimulate discussion of:
- mice and crows
- what it means to be a friend
- under what circumstances a mouse and a crow could be friends
- a retelling of the Aesop’s fable The Lion and the Mouse
- teaching suggestions, including of a video to watch
- an original fable Crow and Mouse
Topics for discussion include:
- what friends do
- how you know someone is a friend
- friends can be diverse
Days of note
Other days coming up soon include:
International Read to Me Day on 19 March: Get ready to read with an armful of books.
Be sure to check back to Jennie Fitzkee’s guest post in which she talks about the importance of reading aloud and shares some of her favourite books for reading aloud.
World Poetry Day on 21 March: Get ready to immerse yourself in reading and writing poetry.
There are also many readilearn resources to support your teaching of poetry. Simply type ‘poems’ into the search bar and press enter.
Easter, too, is just around the corner and readilearn has a range of resources across the curriculum to help you keep the children learning while celebrating this occasion. There are:
- lessons for use on the interactive whiteboard
- logic puzzles
- colouring sheets
- cards to make
- and more.
Subscribe now for access to all readilearn resources, assisting teachers of children in their first three years of school.
Resources beyond worksheets – lessons for teachers made by teachers.
Let readilearn lighten your workload.
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