Empowering Elementary School Children Against Bullying
By Jane Sandwood, Freelance Writer
Image by Andrik Langfield
American politician and former labor lawyer Linda Sanchez, was quoted as saying: “For too long, our society has shrugged off bullying by labeling it a ‘rite of passage’ and by asking students to simply ‘get over it.‘
Those attitudes need to change. Every day, students are bullied into silence and are afraid to speak up. Let’s break this silence and end school bullying.” At present, it is believed that more than 20% of kindergarten and 33% of elementary school students are being subjected to bullying. Teachers are in a very beneficial position to not only identify signs of bullying but actively empower even their youngest students to take a stand against bullying.
The importance of empowering students
Bullying can have a far-reaching effect on young children, making it imperative for teachers to empower their learners to deal with any unpleasant interactions in a positive way. By fostering a sense of unity in your classroom you can lower the prevalence of bullying significantly. Aim to instill as much kindness and respect in your learners as possible and set up numerous activities that require the children to work together in groups and get to know and understand each other better. Promote an open-door policy within your class, encouraging children who feel sad or upset due to the actions of others to come and talk to you at any time, reiterating that you will in no way betray their trust.
Anti-bullying classroom activities
There are a number of age-appropriate classroom activities that can help younger learners comprehend the severity of bullying better. The toothpaste activity is extremely useful in teaching young children what affect their words and actions can have on their peers. Place a strip of tape on the table and ask a volunteer to come to the front of the class and squeeze out a line of toothpaste over the tape. Once this task has been completed, ask your eager helper to put the toothpaste back in the tube – an obviously-impossible task.
A lot can be learned from this activity
Explain to the children that this is what happens when they say mean things to people. Once you speak harmful words you can never take it back, regardless of how hard you try. Other fun yet educational activities include role-play, and poster making that can easily be adapted to suit the ages of your students.
No child should have to live a single day of this life subjected to bullying of any kind. While not all bullies can be found in the classroom or on the school playground, many are found to wreak havoc in our schools. By encouraging students to report bullying, both the victim and the perpetrator are afforded the chance at support and rehabilitation.
If you would like to learn more about how to identify and prevent relational aggression, consider the following available self-paced facilitated online course titled “Anti-Bullying: Guiding Girls Through Relational Aggression”.
For more information please contact us at PD@TeachnKidsLearn.com or 1-855-498-4400.