Friends are a key antidote to bullying. Children with friends either are not the target of bullying behaviour or they are more resilient and therefore able to bounce back if this should happen to them.
For some children making friends comes naturally. However, others need to learn how to do this. Knowing how to respond to the inevitable conflicts that occur throughout childhood and life is key to maintaining friendships.
Our Bridge Builder program is explicitly designed to help develop students skills in this area. An important part of this program is knowing how to report to adults and knowing when to report to adults. Posters around the school tell the children the steps they need to take.
So what can we expect children to be able to do depending on their age and stage of development when it comes to making friends and getting along with others? To some extent this depends on the age of the child. In the Early Childhood stage from ages 4 to 8, children “increasingly begin to use reason to understand the world, consider the needs of others and take responsibility for their actions. Developing confidence in their abilities and establishing healthy relationships is also important during this stage.”
Their relationship skills include being able to identify how to work and play well with others; identify common problems and conflicts with peers and being able to identify approaches to positively deal with conflicts.
In the age group of Middle Childhood, children become “increasingly independent but also more aware of social situations and relationships. Feeling part of a group and receiving social acceptance is particularly important at this time.” Their relationship skills include being able to describe how to make and keep friends; how to work effectively in groups; and causes and consequences of conflicts. They can apply constructive approaches to resolving conflicts. (“Friendly Schools”).
Knowing what to expect of children helps both parents and teachers know what to teach next and how to respond to their need to develop friends. Teaching children how to make friends involves openly discussing this with questions like – What makes a good friend? How can we make friends? And teaching them the unspoken rules of the ‘friendship game’ eg not being too bossy or too self-absorbed to consider the opinions of others or too shy to walk up and ask to join an activity.
Right now teachers are using the approach known as Choose Love
to teach these skills to children and to teach them the four big ideas that help us all promote healthy relationships – Courage, Compassion, Forgiveness and Gratitude. Please ask your class teacher if you want more information about this approach.
Ready, Respectful, Safe
At the start of 2018 all staff at our school took a
decision to work on improving behaviour at our
school by using an approach documented in a
recent publication – 'When the Adults Change
Everything Changes' by Paul Dix.
calls on adults to make some changes to the way they work with
children and to the approaches to both positive and negative
behaviours. As a result we are seeing a dramatic decline in the
number of reported incidents of misbehaviour by children.
What is bringing this change about? The staff made a
commitment to do three things for the first 30 days of school.
These three actions are:
1. Teach the new three rules ie Ready, Respectful and Safe.
2. Use the same consistent script (the '30 Second Script', below) to address times that
children do not follow those rules. The prompts identify
the rule he/she has broken; explain the consequences and
remind the child of times he/she has been helping
themselves or others.
3. While teachers and staff are normally interested in
children, there has been a solid effort to be more
bothered ie to take more time to listen to individual
children and understand what is important to each child.
These approaches sit alongside the school commitment to
mindfulness – enabling our children to breathe when stressed or
worried and be able to handle their concerns that arise in life.
These three strategies are changing the way we relate to
children and the way we work with each child when a behaviour
Some parents have read the book and
report that they are finding it helpful for their own parenting as
well. Please see the office if you would like to borrow a copy.
Our '30 Second Script' for Behaviour Management
We are practicing using a 30 second script with our children when they are demonstrating poor behaviour.
When talking with children about poor behaviour there are words and phrases that work better than others. When we are calm it is easy to imagine what we could say to improve the situation.
Using a prepared script will provide consistency that will come through even when we are not calm.
Using the 30 second script we limit our formal intervention for poor behaviour to 30 seconds in class time. We deliver the message and leave. We remind the child about the behaviour boundary and the child is reminded of what they need to do and when they last did it.
This leaves the relationship with the child in a positive space.
A 30 Second Script*
·I noticed you are ... (touching XZY’s back as we are reading, calling out during writing time)
·It is the rule about (being respectful, ready or safe) that you broke
·You have chosen to (move to the front /catch up at lunch/...)
·Do you remember (this morning/last week) when you ... (kept your hands on your lap, focussed on your writing)
·That is who I need to see today.
·Thank you for listening
(walk away and write it down)
*There is no ‘right script’ we are trying this one and will review it periodically.
Responsible Behaviour Plan for Students
For more information about how we provide a safe, respectful and disciplined learning environment for students and staff at Cannon Hill State School, please see our current Responsible Behaviour Plan for Students