Published on: 13 June 2014

Preparatory School boys have been learning a range of skills and strategies as part of the Protective Behaviours program introduced this year. The program, co-ordinated by Protective Behaviours WA, is informed by a fundamental belief that all children have a right to physical and psychological safety at all times and aims to help prevent and reduce child abuse and violence.

Director of Pastoral Care, Planning and Co-curricular Maria Hodges said the program, which was was trialled by Teaching and Learning Co-ordinators at the end of 2013, was designed to open up the channels for communication.

She said the program’s main themes, ‘We all have the right to feel safe at all times’ and ‘We can talk with someone about anything, no matter what it is’, were taught through 10 topics from Pre-Primary to Year 6. Some of the topics include early warning signs, personal space, safe and unsafe touching and assertiveness.

One of the first lessons in the program covers the ‘My Helping Hand Network’, which was also included into the front section of the Preparatory School Diary this year. This exercise asks boys to think about five adults they know who would listen and help them feel safe if they felt scared or unsafe.

Another lesson includes body awareness and ownership, and private and public parts of the body, which includes teaching and using the correct anatomical names for private parts of the body.

Mrs Hodges said the program aimed to empower the boys to apply preventative strategies as everyday life skills in a non-threatening and non-sexual way. “It encourages boys to keep talking until they feel safe, that they have the right to feel safe and that they are the boss of their bodies.”