This month we are teaching the Stay Safe Programme (http://staysafe.ie/parents.htm) to all class levels in Limerick School Project. We consider this one of the most important programmes to be taught during the year.
The Stay Safe Programme is a personal safety skills programme for primary schools – both mainstream and special. Its overall objective is to prevent child abuse, bullying and other forms of victimisation. The programme develops children’s ability to recognise, resist and report risk situations or abusive encounters by teaching children…
- To identify for themselves unsafe or upsetting situations
- Simple rules to help them avoid abuse
- To respect and value the rights of others
- The language and skills they require to seek help.
The programme also informs parents and teachers about preventing bullying and child abuse, whilst seeking to create a greater public awareness about the problems children can and do experience.
Ideally, children are taught the content of the Stay Safe lessons in the classroom by their usual class teacher, and then discuss the lessons at home with their parents. Teachers and parents work together to ensure that children learn the skills they need to keep safe.
The lessons teach children about what to do if they’re frightened or upset. One of the central messages children learn is that if they ever have a problem, they should tell an adult they know and trust.
As the most important people in a child’s life it is essential that parents/guardians are involved in the programme. It’s been shown that programmes like Stay Safe are most effective when parents/guardians are actively involved in the process.
Worksheets to accompany the lessons may be given as homework to your child or may be brought home for you to sign. (The illustrations throughout this booklet are taken from the children’s worksheets.) It’s important that you use these to discuss the content of the lesson with your child. Doing so will give you an insight into what your child is learning, and present an opportunity to discuss the issues involved in a way more personal than is possible in the classroom situation. It also gives you an opportunity to discuss personal safety issues with your child and to explain the safety rules that exist in your family. Children have sometimes used the worksheets to tell their parents/guardians about problems.
Before the programme starts:
- Make sure you’re familiar with the lesson topics as outlined in the following section
- Talk to your child about the programme. Explain that the programme will teach them how to keep safe
- Decide on a time to set aside for discussion of the worksheets.