A positive alternative to traditional anti-bullying programs

We all know there’s a problem in schools. Bullying is a huge issue with varying degrees of severity, ranging from school yard teasing to ruthless online harassment.

In the past a little conflict was seen to build resilience, but gone are the days of turning a blind eye. Too many lives have been shattered and families devastated by relentless and spiteful taunting that can drive children to breaking point.

Professionals are working hard to finding a solution, but hope is fading as anti-bullying talks seem to be falling on deaf ears.

Naturally, children should be informed of the consequences of bullying and many schools do so with talks and incursions. But bombarding kids with that dreadful, negative and over used word has proven fruitless as it appears to have lost its impact. Talk is simply not enough to change bullying behaviour that in some cases has been learned over a lifetime.

Traditionally, little emphasis was placed on children’s social, emotional and mental health by schools, as this was seen as a job for parents. But bad behaviour isn’t just about kids misbehaving, it’s often what they’ve grown up with and all they know. It’s essential to show these kids an alternative to the lifestyle they’re accustomed to. Schools must offer the support and guidance that will help them make positive choices.

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Ripple Kindness Project for Schools is a positive, whole school SEL program that tackles bullying with kindness and giving.

We believe confronting a problem of this magnitude, requires a positive, long-term, hands-on approach. So, we designed an on-going curriculum that focuses not only on kindness but also encompasses emotional learning, mindfulness, resilience building and teacher well-being. Because we also believe it’s important to take kindness outside the school gate to include people in a child’s social network and emphasis that it’s not just a school project but a way of life, we created our lessons and activities for the classroom, home and community.

Children learn what it takes to be a good friend and gain acceptance and admiration from their peers, a vital component in deflecting unkind behaviour. We make kindness fun and students are rewarded by warm feelings of gratitude and pride as they learn to consider others.

Our kindness cards are a hit and kids love giving them with a good deed to keep their ripple of kindness going.

We aim to cultivate a positive and inclusive school community with emphasis on maintaining an optimistic classroom environment where everyone feels like they are supported and belong. And research proves that kindness is the way to do that!

In this day and age, schools must place the same importance on teaching character education as they do on academics. It’s vital for the health and happiness of our children and for creating the generational change that will break negative cycles and see us all grow and prosper in the future.