|EMSB KINDERgarten INITIATIVE AIMED AT REDUCING BULLYING AND ACTS OF AGGRESSION|
MONTREAL, JANUARY 16, 2014 – On the eve of the annual Kindergarten Registration Week, the English Montreal School Board has launched its new KINDERgarten campaign during a press conference at Parkdale Elementary School in St. Laurent.
KINDERgarten will promote the work done by Kindergarten teachers in developing social- emotional learning in the classroom in providing tools for the children to reduce bullying and acts of aggression and to foster compassion and acts of kindness.”
Leading up to the first day of class for the next academic year on Monday, August 31, 2015, staff from the EMSB’s Student Services and Pedagogical Services Departments will provide Kindergarten teachers with a menu of activities they can undertake.
In order to make the various players more accountable with respect to bullying and violence in schools, on June 12, 2012, the National Assembly passed Bill 56, An Act to prevent and stop bullying and violence in schools. It also stipulates that school boards must see to it that each of their schools provides a healthy and secure learning environment that allows every student to develop his or her full potential, free from any form of bullying or violence.
“I believe that we have responded very effectively to Bill 56,” said EMSB Chairman Angela Mancini. “The introduction of this new campaign makes it clear that we must start sensitizing our students to this very important issue at a very young age. While we certainly address the topics of kindness and bullying in class at all levels, the implementation of a formula which will have Kindergarten students exposed to it from their very first moments we hope will set the tone for how they treat their classmates for the rest of their school days.”
Ms. Mancini applauded Kindergarten teachers like Jackie Dare at Parkdale who are already focusing on this important subject on a regular basis.
REPERTOIRE OF ACTIVITIES
EMSB Violence Prevention Consultant Daphna Leibovici and Pedagogical Consultant Anne Marie De Silva have developed a repertoire of activities in keeping with the KINDERgarten initiative.
“These activities can be used the first week of school and reinforced throughout the year to teach positive social skills, develop empathy and foster kindness,” says Ms. Leibovici.
Added Ms. De Silva: “Research shows that students who learn in a positive environment enjoy higher test scores, learn new skills at a faster rate and are generally happier at school. Practicing kindness in the classroom may benefit students, teachers and the entire school community.”
B.A.S.E. IMPLEMENTS PLAY IT FAIR!
The EMSB Before and After School Enriched (B.A.S.E) Daycare Program has implemented Play it Fair! in its daycares in order to educate children about their human rights and values. Play it Fair! is a human rights educational toolkit designed by the organization Equitas—the International Centre for Human Rights Education. The program, which was designed for six to 12 year-old children, promotes human rights, non-discrimination and peaceful conflict resolution throughout non-formal educational instruction for children. Play it Fair! is an excellent resource pairing more than 60 games with discussion questions that promote positive values among children, such as respect, fairness, co-operation, inclusion, responsibility, acceptance and respect for diversity.
PINK SHIRT DAY
Vincent Massey Collegiate in Rosemount will once again take the lead locally on Pink Shirt Day (www.pinkshirtday.ca) on Wednesday, February 13, 2015 – two weeks in advance of the national day. In 2007, two Nova Scotia students decided to take action after witnessing a younger student being bullied for wearing a pink shirt to school. The students bought 50 pink t-shirts and encouraged classmates to wear them and send a powerful message of solidarity to the bully. The next day at school, over 500 youth showed up wearing pink and the bully was not heard from again.
AUTISTIC STUDENT SHARES HIS EXPERIENCE
Steve Atme wishes there was an initiative like KINDERgarten when he was younger. At the KINDERgarten launch, Steve shared the experience of what it was like as someone with Autism being bullied and how he persevered. Now a member of the I Can Dream Theatre Group, he performed the song The Prayer, which addresses finding a safe place for every child.
Now in his fourth year of studies at the McGill Conservatory of Music, Steven is a pianist, composer, piano teacher, and public speaker. His speech titled Special People Have Dreams recounts his life with Autism, the challenges he faced as a non-verbal child, and how he has succeeded in embracing his talents and passions. He teaches private piano lessons at Summit School to people with and without special needs, including the music teacher. He also helps people with behavioural issues.
Claudia Marques is a very popular radio personality from The Beat 92.5 FM, someone known to be down to earth who loves to be around people. From a multicultural background, this beautiful girl next door doesn’t take herself very seriously because life is way too short to sweat the small stuff! "LIVE, LAUGH, LOVE, LEARN" is the motto she tries to live by every day. Prior to joining The Beat, she worked actively in Montreal's French TV market. Growing up, though, she was the victim of constant bullying. She shared with those at the press conference how she overcame this and turned her life around.
Michael J. Cohen