The power of classroom circles for fostering emotional intelligence, improving well-being and creating a culture of kindness is well documented. Circles are important tools for nurturing relationships and feelings of community and can be used in any classroom.

Schools with a focus on social and emotional learning (SEL) often use circles to help build a positive culture to reduce bullying. Circles work because they help all children to feel loved and encouraged while creating bonds between peers. They are especially important for nurturing feelings of belonging, acceptance and stability in troubled children.

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Supporting children to stop bullying.

Bully! It’s an ugly word because it involves ugly actions. This little word can stir the strongest emotions in people from all walks of life. Why, because it doesn’t discriminate and a high proportion of the population have been either directly or indirectly affected by it.

Bullying has become an overwhelming social crisis. When it touches the life of a child, it can have a devastating and long-lasting effect not only on them but also their family and friends.

Childhood bullying can negatively impact the physical, emotional and mental health of bullies, the bullied, and bystanders well into adulthood.

A meta-analysis of 80 studies reported a mean prevalence rate in 12-18-year-old students of 35% for traditional bullying and 15% for cyberbullying involvement. Given that another study reported that only 36% of bullying victims reported being bullied, it’s difficult to know how accurate these figures really are and frightening to think they could be much higher.   read more →

This year marks the ten-year celebration of me graduating high school. While the time has certainly passed, the memories that most linger are not of all the homework and tests that were taken, but of the people who at one point made up my entire world.

Growing up, and even still now, I have the privilege of being a twin to the most authentic and unique individual I have ever met. While my years in high school were spent socializing and smiling, his days were greeted with dread and despair. He woke up every morning praying to become invisible. read more →

To This Day” is a poem written by Shane Koyczan to highlight the lasting impact bullying can have. He says that schools and families are in desperate need of tools to help combat bullying and shares his message as a way of inspiring others to stand up and take action. Shane explains that the violence he experienced at school still echos but he found that facing the problem has helped him beyond measure.

Several talented contributors came together to support his efforts in raising awareness by helping create the video that went viral upon its release. It tells the stories of bullied children and explores the torment of people who feel different or alone. Shane encourages people to forget what is said and to take a good look at the beauty they see in the mirror. To believe in themselves and know that they are worthy and know that there is hope of a better tomorrow.   read more →

My daughter has been having difficulty with a girl at school. This girl “Mary” became a bit of a stalker and it became quite intense.

It was manageable during school hours, but it was the constancy of exchanges on Instagram that became overwhelming. Relentless messages from Mary accusing my daughter of bad behaviour. Mary snapping a photo of my daughter’s private messages, where she revealed her crush and then showing him. Not cool. In the end, we advised our daughter to block Mary, at which point the girl jumped on to my account. Yikes, it was intense.

A meeting was held at school and the cyber issue was resolved. Several minor incidents occurred thereafter, but nothing that we couldn’t handle.

Then, one day my daughter came home from school furious. We sat down as I listened to the drama that had unfolded this time. Mary had taken a rotten piece of fruit and had thrown it at one of the boys. This particular boy is very shy, a bit of a recluse, an easy target. The fruit hit him. He did not respond and simply continued staring at the floor. My daughter then flew into action (she has a very strong moral compass).

“Empathy is seeing with the eyes of another, listening with the ears
of another and feeling with the heart of another.” – Alfred Adler

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A teacher in New York used the crumpled paper exercise to show her students the last impact that bullying can have. read more →