"We cannot expect children to deal with situations of stress without first teaching them safety skills" Stephen Brier (Psychologist)
Protective Behaviours is a safety awareness and resilience building programme which the school adopted two years ago. We believe that this programme is an essential part of our school curriculum. It helps the children to recognise any situation where they feel worried or unsafe, such as feeling stressed, bullied or threatened, and explores practical ways to keep safe. Protective Behaviours also looks at identifying support networks for times when we need someone to listen and help.
Protective Behaviours is based on two key messages:
- We all have the right to feel safe all of the time
- We can talk with someone about anything, even if it feels awful or small
Below are the key learning objectives that your child will be taught during each session. In the past, parents and carers have told us they found it useful to know in advance the content of each of the lessons as well as when they would occur. This enabled them to support their child's learning at home if they wished. Some parents also found it useful to be prepared in case their child asked them questions about certain areas that are covered.
This year we continue to build on our Protective Behaviours work, increasing the links with our overall EPR curriculum (Education for Personal Relationships) and exploring new ways for parents to get involved including optional home learning activities for the end of each lesson. Parents and carers will be informed when lessons occur via the school newsletter, and the scheme of work is also displayed here on our website.
There are four key themes to the programme which develop throughout the year groups.
| Lesson 1 - Feelings and Feeling Safe
| Lesson 2 - Feeling Unsafe and Early Warning Signs/The Safety Scale - 'Fun to feel scared'
| Lesson 3 - Body Awareness and Safe Touch/Secrets and Telling
| Lesson 4 - Networks, Secrets and Telling
Throughout the programme the children are encouraged to recognise their feelings of safety in different situations. When we feel unsafe, our bodies tell us through physical sensations that something is wrong. Within our working school these situations are called early warning signs; however we may also refer to them as natural instincts, gut feelings or intuition.
Children are encouraged to identify their early warning signs - for example, butterflies in their stomach, sweaty hands, goose bumps, racing heart - and the situations in which they can occur.
There are generally three types of situations where we experience early warning signs:
- When we feel unsafe, but are having fun and are in control of the situation - ie: it is our choice to be there. For example, watching a scary movie, diving off a high board or riding a roller coaster.
- When we feel unsafe, it is not fun, but we are still in control. For example, going to the dentist or sitting an exam.
- When we feel unsafe, it is not fun and we have no control over the situation. These situations are personal emergencies as the child is in danger of losing control over what happens to them. For example, being lost, being bullied, or being abused.
In a personal emergency, children are encouraged to:
- Use safety strategies and personal networks to regain control of the situation and restore them to a state of physical and emotional safety
- Dial 999 if in immediate danger
- Report non urgent incidents by calling their local police station
Children are encouraged to develop a 'Safety Network' of trusted adults who will listen to them, believe them and help them if they need help. Ideally, a child's network should consist of at least five trusted adults chosen by them who are available, supportive, trustworthy and willing to listen. They should also be willing to take action, if needed, in order to help the child feel and be safe again.
Networks of trusted people should be people children can talk to about all things - good things as well as things that concern them.
Within this programme we teach children the biological names for their private parts, but any names that parents have also chosen to use are okay too. Naming of body parts is a subject that some people feel uncomfortable about, but we believe that avoiding such conversations can lead to children becoming confused - especially if they are trying to let someone know that they are in discomfort or if something else has happened to them. Cases have been documented in which a child was trying to tell an adult something important, but they did not have the appropriate words to use - and so key information was overlooked and missed. Using the 'official' names for our body parts helps us all to have the appropriate dialogue in school, and the words are used with care and respect. We make it clear that the children may well also have their own words for private parts of their bodies; the important thing is that they know the biological words too.
Feedback from parents, children and staff regarding this programme over the last two years has been extremely positive.
Please click on the links below for the overview for each year group along with home learning tasks. More detailed lesson plans and resources can be found here.
Please find below other useful information regarding keeping safe.
You will also find useful tips on the following website: http://www.saferinternet.org/tipsheets