Creating a safe, respectful classroom environment in which all children feel valued is a key recommendation from many experts who develop anti-bullying programs. Below is a list of practices that contribute to an anti-bullying environment. Programs that effectively deal with bullying:
Talk about bullying regularly – Rather than waiting for instances of bullying to occur, successfully programs intentionally talk about bullying to students, parents, community members, and employees. Programs work to share information about the effects of bullying with each of these audiences in an effort to decrease bullying behaviors.
Promote empathy and compassion – Through planned activities and spontaneous responses, teachers work to help all members of the community to interact with one another in an empathetic way. Teacher use a variety of resources, including children’s literature, to help children practice being compassionate and empathetic. Members of the program also model these skills for other members of the community.
Communicate the value of similarities and differences – Programs use classroom design, conversations, decorations, toys, and materials to convey messages of worth and value. These elements are present each and every day, during planned activities and spontaneous interactions.
Empower children – By making sure each child feels empowered programs take steps to decrease bullying behavior, which occurs when there is an imbalance of power between two individuals. Teachers can provide social scripts for students who may need support feeling comfortable speaking up for themselves. Teachers find positive outlets for children who may be tempted to explore their ability to capitalize on power imbalances through bullying behaviors. Teachers also role play steps children can take if they witness an act of bullying, which empowers those children who find themselves in the roe of bystander.
Create trusting relationships with children – When a program teaches children to talk to a trusted adult about being bullies or witnessing bullying, they then must respond when children report these instances. Tattling is something that early childhood educators often discourage. However, it is important that caregivers be responsive when children share their reports, otherwise they will learn that making reports is pointless.
For the Main Article on Bullying, CLICK HERE.
For Bullying Warning Signs, CLICK HERE.
For Book Lists and Classroom Resources, CLICK HERE.
For Director’s Corner Bullying Prevention Reflection, CLICK HERE.