These materials can be used in a variety of settings, with both children and adults. Activities can be readily adapted to meet the needs of individuals and groups as well as children of all ages. Specific suggestions for doing so are included throughout the toolkit. Additional information on issues relevant to specific age groups and settings is included on this website:
To benefit most from these materials . . .
1. Prepare ahead of time. Before using the materials, review the content and activities. Consider the issues they raise and how they apply to the children in your care. Try out the activities with colleagues or other adults, to see how they work and to examine your own knowledge and beliefs about bullying.
2. Proceed through the toolkit sequentially, if possible. The toolkit begins with an examination of individual experiences, values, and beliefs around bullying, and then moves toward developing a team approach to bullying prevention and creating a bully-free environment. The activities build on one another.
3. Realize that change happens slowly. Changing knowledge, beliefs, and behaviors takes time. Children—and adults—need multiple opportunities to practice . . . so, instead of limiting bullying prevention to a single session, consider incorporating toolkit activities in ongoing events (such as staff trainings) or periods when children are accustomed to addressing serious issues (such as open-circle times, cabin chats, or family meetings).
4. Create a safe space. Establish clear ground rules for your discussions. Children should listen to and respect one another, rather than judge. If a child discloses a deeply personal issue, acknowledge the disclosure with reassurance and support, redirect the conversation from the specific to the general, then follow up in private with the child after the discussion.
5. Keep the discussions focused, but fun. While these activities address important and serious issues, they are meant to be fun and engaging.
6. Be proactive. Don’t wait until you have a bullying incident to begin practicing bullying prevention.