How a private school provides you with the extra value that you may not get in a government school

When you, as a parent, have to decide whether you must send your kids to a private school or a government school, you are likely to face a quandary. At times, you may think that some of the parents who provide private education to their children are committing a mistake by buying privilege with their money power. But at the same time, you may want that your kids should also have the best of education and hence, private school may provide more of such opportunities. In this context, you are advised to take cognizance of the opinion of a few experts who support your latter notion. According to these experts, if you send your kids to an International School Singapore, your children will benefit immensely. Let us now find out how a private school will provide your children with the extra value that a government school may not provide.

1. Even a Private school Singapore use the international baccalaureate system reveal that you are able to feel the welcoming atmosphere that prevails in the place. On the contrary, when you visit a government school, the teachers or staff at the school may be overwhelmed with other activities and tasks. This may affect the atmosphere and learning environment of the students. Apart from feeling the ambiance, you will find that the teachers and the administrative staff of a private school are ready to spend their time to discuss with you for finding the specific needs of your children and for knowing how you expect your children to be taken care of. These aspects will instill confidence in you that your kids will get more valuable education in a private school.

2. If you discuss with parents who have already admitted their kids in a private school, you will find that they are very much happy that they have made the right decision because their children are able to achieve much beyond their expectations. This is attributed to the resources and facilities that are available in the private school, as such providing students with better opportunities. So, if you admit your children in a good private school, you can justifiably expect that they will also learn better. This means your children will have better opportunities than those who get educated in a government school.

On the contrary, government schools may not offer what parents expect. This means that children studying in these schools will not have the advantages those who are educated in a private school will have.

3. Government schools are established with the premise that the needs of every child are the same. This is likely to lead to mediocrity in a number of children. On the other hand, those who run private schools are aware that every child is different and the learning style of one child will differ from that of another child. Similarly, the speed at which one child learns may not be the same as that of other children. So, the teachers as well as other staff of private schools will be willing to devote their time for paying individual attention to fulfill the unique needs of every child. Their aim is to impart the right kind of education every child needs.

4. Private schools make it a point to put in place suitable systems to impart strong discipline in children. Since government schools do not pay individual attention, they may not be able to check if the children studying in them follow disciplinary ways.

5. Private schools always aim to maintain high standards not only in the curriculum they should follow but in providing the right infrastructure and facilities to children. In other words, children who study in these schools will be able to easily achieve all-round development. On the contrary, government schools cannot choose a curriculum on their own. Since they have to cater to the needs of children from all types of backgrounds, the standards of the education they offer may be much below what you want your children to have. The infrastructure and other facilities in the schools may not be of very high standards also.

6. Private schools encourage healthy competition among their students.

Since teachers of the government schools are not able to pay individual attention on students, they may not be able to encourage such a sense of competition among them.

To summarize, if you admit your kids in a private school, you can be certain that the school will provide extra value to your children that they may not get in a government school.

What to look for while choosing an international preschool?

The choice of preschool is crucial because these are the most important years in a child’s development. It might be inundating looking at the various options you have in your hand. Making a choice should not be an impulsive decision. It should rather be a well-researched process where every detail is considered. Ask yourself and the chosen preschool a lot of questions to be absolutely sure that you are picking nothing but the best for your kid.

Why choose an international preschool over a local preschool?

With the globalization of the education in several countries, international preschools are becoming increasingly popular. Both local and international preschools have their own benefits. But there are some factors that do give the international preschools an edge and thus making them popular among the parents or preschoolers. With the global methods of teaching and a world class curriculum incorporated international preschools help prepare the preschoolers better for accepting an international curriculum in schooling in the future as well. With the education industry in Singapore growing and expanding at an impressive rate, finding an international preschools would be quite easy. One can consider enrolling their child into GESS international school  if they are looking for a well-rounded and established international school in Singapore.

If you are still undecided, here is a list of criteria that you can measure against to ensure that your child is well-equipped with the best quality education:

1.Consider the ambiance:

The ambience in a preschool would depend a lot on the type of curriculum chosen as well. So looking at the ambience you would be able to understand the general atmosphere that prevails in the school. You would thus be able to understand whether it would be a flexible and acceptable environment that your child would love.

2.The communication language:

While some local preschools might allow communication in the regional languages, international preschools focus on communication in English. Learning to communicate in English at a very early age can offer a strong foundation for your child. For those looking to include a second language say the mother tongue, a local preschool might be the option.

 

3.Teaching methodology:

You would be able to gain a first impression about the teaching methodology from the ambiance of the school. But actually enquiring about the same with the school would be essential. Though the curriculum might be similar across international preschools, the exact teaching methodologies might slightly vary. The emphasis imposed on soft skills, academic orientation of the syllabus for the preschoolers all should be looked at keenly before making a final decision. Some schools adopt the play-based learning strategies that can especially popular among children these  days.

“Play ignites curiosity and stimulates the natural, innate creativity of young children. Different type of play help to develop children’s cognitive and emotional growth. For example, educational toys like building blocks help children to learn about colours and shapes, and playing with items like dough helps them develop their touch senses and creativity. Also, play is fun! We know that when children have fun, they are much more likely to focus on what they are doing and learning. Read more about it here.

4.The other factors to look at:

There are various other factors to look out for when choosing a local or international preschool. Some of them include the student to teacher ratio, facilities and infrastructure of the school and also the accreditation of the institute to know where it stands among the other international school in the region.

Reasons Why Your Child Needs Preschool

Reasons Why Your Child Needs Preschool

 

One of the things that parents are preparing for their children is their schooling. They, as well as their children prepare for it physically, emotionally, socially, and financially. Preschool could be one of the first schools that your children will attend. However, some parents skip this part for some reasons. That is why today we are going to explain to you why your children need to go to preschool before entering kindergarten. More information on a preschool can be found on a preschool, My Little Campus’ website here.

First off, Equal Head Start will tell us why our children should go to preschool.

 

Does Your Child Need to Go to Preschool?

 

We all know that children need to go to school at some point of time, but when they are in their precious young and cuddly ages, sending them away for a few hours a day isn’t easy. But is this a necessary step to growing up, or is preschool nothing more than just big corporations charging big bucks to do your diaper duty for you?

 

Could homeschooling produce better or similar results, without the hefty price tag?

 

There’s never one right answer when it comes to parenting, so we’re not going to give you a simple yes/no answer to that. Instead, we try to answer some commonly asked questions about this million-dollar issue.

 

 

    1. What does preschool even do for kids?

 

 

Preschool and daycare aren’t really the same thing, and good preschool teachers do a lot more than keep their young charges fed, changed, and happy. Here are 2 broad goals of preschool: Read more here.

 

Preschool will actually help your child get ready for a more formal school setting. It is like a place where children could play but learning is incorporated so that they can slowly adapt to formal schooling which will happen in primary school onwards. In an article by Moms Who Think, we are going to know more about the reasons why your child should go to preschool.

 

Should Your Child Go to Preschool?

 

As your child approaches that age, you may find yourself ponder the question of preschool. It is much more common now than it ever has been before to send children to preschools. In 1960 only about 10% of children went to preschools in America. Now that number has changed and most children do attend preschools at some point. Some go early and some go late, but still some don’t go at all.

 

Preschool is by no means mandatory after all, and that is not going to change anytime soon. Many parents feel that it would be redundant to send a child they’ve chosen to stay at home with off to another caregiver. Some parents can’t find a way to fit preschool into their budget and other simply do not feel that it offers what their child needs, when they need it. Ultimately it’s a decision that you will have to make for yourself, but here are a few thought s you might find helpful.

 

What Do Preschools Do?

 

Preschools offer different things to different people. This can also vary by school facility as well. Some preschools are very academically oriented and will offer children a rigorous, but age appropriate curriculum. Some are simply the equivalent of a paid childcare or play date facility. Most fall between these extremes. For most families, preschools offer several different benefits. Read more here.

 

Some important things that children will learn in preschool are social and emotional skills, manners, and graces. This means that they would be able to learn how to deal with other people. They would be able to learn how to interact with people in the right way.

 

On a different topic, Michaela Bisset will share to us seven preschool trips your kids will want to go on. This might encourage them as well to go to school.

 

Seven preschool trips your kids will want to go on

 

Singapore has a wealth of learning experience to offer preschoolers. We found about some of their fun and educational school outings this year.

 

Caring for Otters

 

Location: Singapore Zoo
School: Kinderland Preschool and Kindergarten
Grade: Preschool and Kindergarten

 

Over 600 Kinderland children (ages four to six years) visited Singapore Zoo to learn about the otters living in Singapore’s wetland ecosystems, and the impact of water pollution on them. The aim was to learn about the animals, and to encourage, explain and discuss why children should take care of the natural environment through their own actions. Read more here.

 

It is good to know that preschools also have school trips. In this way, children would be able to learn while having fun. They would be able to visit zoos, parks, museums, galleries, beaches, and other places. Outdoor learning would really contribute a lot to their development. There are already some destinations provided above. The location of the school, the school which offers it and the grade levels joining are already mentioned above. So for the schools, thank you for making learning fun for all these children.

Why you should invest your time and effort in learning a new language

Of course, you must have heard it somewhere that learning a new language is good and that it is going to give you an edge in life and business. The truth is that even if you know a couple of the benefits associated with learning a new language, you may not still be motivated to learn it.

If you are keen to pick up a new language with an established school, Berlitz Language School Singapore provides a wide range of courses for you. They are a long-established brand, and if you are serious about picking up a new language you can check them out above.

The following article by omniglot discusses some interesting reasons why you should learn a new language.

Why should I learn a language?

Of course, you may not be too excited about learning a new language because it takes time and dedication. The reasons below may help to convince you to take the plunge, if such persuasion is needed. Some reasons are practical, some inspirational, some intellectual and others sentimental, but whatever your reasons, having a clear idea of why you’re learning a language can help to motivate you in your studies. Read more here.

You probably now know some of the reasons why learning a new language is worthwhile and you are probably excited and about learning a new language. But one important thing you need to have at the back of your mind is that learning a new language is difficult.

The following article by Erin discusses why learning a new language is difficult and how you can make it easier.

Why learning a language is hard and how to make it easier

Learning a new skill can be difficult and discouraging at first, but things are going to get better if you don’t give up.

If you’re struggling to learn a new language, breathe, you’re not alone. Adults famously find language learning more difficult than children, whose super-flexible brains actually grow the connections necessary to learn an additional language.

But, why is it so hard to learn a foreign language, anyway? Put simply, it’s hard because it challenges both your mind (your brain has to construct new cognitive frameworks) and time (it requires sustained, consistent practice). But there’s more to it than that.

In this article, we’ll explore three major factors that make language learning difficult – and give you six tips to make it that much easier. Read more here

If you are traveling to Singapore, you are going to have the wonderful opportunity to learn a couple of languages there. The following article by internations will discuss how you can learn the various languages spoken in Singapore.

Learning a language in Singapore

The many languages spoken in Singapore are a perfect opportunity to improve your own language skills or learn some Mandarin along the way. Experienced teachers and great schools can be found all across Singapore. Read more here.

Of course, you have come to see that learning a new language is really worthwhile. That said, learning a new language can be very frustrating because it is difficult, but with time and effort, it is going to get easier. If you are relocation or visiting a place like Singapore, you are going to have the opportunity of leaning the various languages at some of the best language schools there.

How kindergarten education influences the quality of further schooling

Experts compare children with sponges because they absorb or grasp things fast. Young children keenly observe everything including the behaviors of others and learn to imitate them. That is the reason parents and others are advised to behave and talk in the right manner in the presence of their young kids. It is precisely for this reason you, as a parent, are advised to provide the right type of kindergarten education to your child. In fact, a good kindergarten education will catalyze the learning process of your kid by greatly influencing the quality of his further schooling.

Many Kindergartens like My Little Campus have a diverse curriculum for their kindergarten education in order to expose the children to different learning experiences and strengthen their foundation in not just academic ability but also in character.

Let us see how.

1. There may be a number of kindergartens in Singapore and hence, you should do a proper research for choosing the best one for your kid. The main benefit your child will derive by getting good kindergarten education is that there will be a significant improvement in his social skills. You may wonder how improved social skills will influence his further education. Remember that nowadays, schools grade students not only on the basis of their academic skills but on other skills as well including their social skills.

In fact, social skills seem to be all-pervasive. These skills help children while playing, for cooperating with other kids and while involving themselves in various types of activities that require coordination among themselves. In other words, the social skills that children acquire during their kindergarten will go a long way in improving the quality of their learning beyond the kindergarten stage.

2. Kindergarten education will help in the all-round development of children. This means it will help in the mental development of kids as well. When your kid grows up, he may have to face various types of situations. He will be able to successfully overcome the issues he faces only by viewing things with a holistic perspective. Since kindergarten education helps in the emotional and mental development of your kid, he will not have any problems in confronting such situations head-on and surmounting them.

In fact, teachers of good kindergarten schools may have been trained suitably to identify weak areas in kids so they can provide the right type of support for strengthening those areas. Not only that, they will induce other children also to cooperate with the kids with such weaknesses so there will be almost on-par development in every child.

3. Teachers of a good kindergarten school will put in place suitable activities that may induce enthusiasm for learning in children. Once kids acquire such an attitude, they will remain enthusiastic even after they come out of their kindergarten school and go for further education. Experts opine that if kids develop such an enthusiastic attitude, it will last till the end of their life. The attitude will help them in all their future endeavors.

4. Since the activities teachers of good kindergarten schools design will be full of fun, children will be able to enjoy the process of learning. This will help the kids develop a love for learning that may go a long way in enhancing their grasping abilities during their future schooling years. This eagerness to learn will remain with them throughout their life and so, they will be keen to keep abreast of new innovations and developments in their own fields when they grow up.

5. Teachers of a good kindergarten school impart the most important lessons of respecting and empathizing with others in children. Once your kid imbibes this lesson, he will not only behave respectfully with everyone but will show empathy with those children who lack in certain skills that they possess. So, they will try to help those children by teaching them. It is a known fact that teaching is one of the best forms of learning which means your kid will learn faster than the other kids. This habit will stick with them even during their further schooling which means they will continue to learn faster than other children.

In view of the foregoing, you can pretty well construe that by providing a good kindergarten education to your kid, you can influence the quality of his further schooling.

When is the right age to begin speech therapy for your kids?

It can be quite worrying when a child does not reach a milestone on time and it can be a cause of stress for parents. Although children have a different rate of growing, it can be quite worrying if the child does not start speaking when the other children do, it does ring an alarm bell.

You need to take a step and ensure that the right action is taken to aid your child in speaking. It is for this reason that speech therapy is appropriate and helps a child in speaking. While for some children, it can be extremely helpful, for many other children, it can only be a matter of time when they start speaking. But in either case it is important for parents to know when the right time is to provide speech therapy for children and whether it is right for the child at all.

Here are some tips that will help you know whether it is right or not.

What is Normal

Experts suggest that these milestones are normal for toddlers and babies.

Under the age of one, it is quite normal for babies to start interacting verbally with their surroundings by making baby sounds. It is important to know that these sounds are the precursors to speech for a child. When the child is around 12 to 15 months of age, babies start to impersonate the sounds of their mother tongue and start to say simple single words. They can also follow simple, single-step directions.

When the babies are between 18 months to two years, their vocabulary increases, and they begin to mouth two words together and start saying simple words or even two words. In this phase they begin to listen and start saying two or three words that are quite cute to hear.

When the child is between 2 and 3 years, their speech generally is quite clear, or begins to get quite clear. Their vocabulary increases and their comprehension also takes off. For instance, if a child is 3 years old and is still putting two words together, you might want to take the help of speech therapy as it can be alarming. By now the child should have started speaking complete sentences and say more than two or three words.

A Mix of Factors

Experts also suggest that delay in speech alone is not a cause of worry, but delay in speech accompanied by various other issues can be a cause of worry and might even be serious.

For instance, if a child is constantly behind speech and also shows other unusual behavior, it can mean that it may require therapy. If you spot unusual behavior, you might want to consult a doctor. These unusual behaviors are:

There is a serious deficit of nonverbal communication, like if the child does not make an eye contact, smile, babbles, and also does not engage socially, it can be concerning and you might want to consult a doctor to know the causes and the therapy required.

When there is an inability in the child to follow certain instructions or directions and also when the child cannot hear these instructions, you should be alarmed.

When you notice that the child has a poor retention capacity and especially when that is short-term. When you observe that the child can be seen extremely frustrated while speaking, it can be a cause of concern.

Consulting a pediatrician will be a good place to start when you see that your child has speech problems. He or she can be quite open about suggesting speech therapy when required and if necessary will also recommend a speech therapist.

Top Reasons Why Your Child With Special Needs Should Be Taught Theatre Art

 

 

For anyone with special needs, increasing the comfort level and the adaptability to the surrounding environment comes as a primary priority. The more one is comfortable with the proximity, the more expressive that person can become. It is in this same scenario that theatre company helps your child with special needs. It allows the opportunity to stretch and grow and to meet new people like themselves. It helps them to speak in large groups and expand their skills as well. It in turn provides them a basis for enhancing their life skills.

Theatre provides a creative and dynamic learning environment that strengthens life and other social skills. It helps them to engage in unique experiences that are fun and energetic and serves as a fantastic form of exercise and a mode of self expression. It certainly impacts almost all aspects of life in a positive way.
Leapfrogs Children Therapy Center is one such organization that help provide, speech and educational therapy to children with this disabilities.

There is mainly three aspects of theatre that you must know to provide your child the best theatre experience that he/she deserves. These include – singing, acting and dancing. These aspects provide specific aspects for growing and development of your child. They ultimately create a beautiful platform for self-expression and recreational entertainment contributing towards a remarkable upbringing. Concentrating ionone may bet the right choice as once your child develops the skills required in one, he/she can move on to another and grow stronger there. However, each is multi-dimensional and enhances the life skills without any doubt. The aspects are discussed widely below:

Singing
Singing is primarily beneficial from an articulation and projection platform. Think this for a moment, if actors don’t speak clearly or loudly, the audience will fail to follow the stage. Hence when educators work with students of special needs, they concentrate more on the speech and the voice and the clarity in it. This allows your child to develop clear and loud voice, overcoming the fear of people and realizing that they too have a voice. Strong communication can be a key to a enhanced personality and singing helps to achieve that specifically.
Moreover, hand motions and sign languages also forms a part of singing and this allows them to be free and behave more liberally than expected to be. It is a remarkable way to develop basic skills and many have adopted it with no hesitation.

Acting
Another incredible recreational therapy, acting involves a number of life skills that are essential for the daily functioning of a human being. First it teaches teamwork, communication eye contact and other helpful skills. It also helps the child to be conscious of his/her presence in front of the audience and fight their way through it, to survive people and the world in general. It helps them to be free of their self-conscious and present a positive body language to the world. Acting also provides the freedom to the students to explore different worlds of expression. Acting is noting but practicing social skills, whether during rehearsal or performance. Making eye contact, speaking loudly, expressing the right emotions, all are a part of developing life skills.

Dancing
It is undoubtedly a terrific form of exercise and moving your body. It helps to make your child aware of his/her body. The more you are aware of your body the less conscious you will be. It opens up your child to the outside world. And in theatre, dance is generally combined with singing, music and acting. All converges to produce an expressive atmosphere that helps an introvert child to embrace the different characters and forms and express with vigor and enthusiasm.

Theatre art has become a major part of the speech therapy for children with special needs and it should be duly embraced.

PRESCHOOL FOR TODDLERS

Do you feel that your toddler is too young for preschool? Those children who attend high-quality preschool programs have their lives changed for the better.

As the first five years of life are the most important for not only personality development but children also acquire the basic capabilities that prepare them for later success in school and life.

Many studies show that high-quality preschools improve achievement, behavior, and school readiness for economically disadvantaged children.

Researchers conducted studies with this same sample of children found that they earn more money, experience more stable home lives, and become more responsible citizens than they would have if they had not attended preschool.

Children who attend preschool in singapore are better prepared to enter kindergarten, emotionally, academically and socially. Most preschools offer parents and children typical benefits.

A good program can help children develop their gross and fine motor skill, improve their language and communication abilities, and exercise their creativity.

Preschool and toddlerhood

Toddlerhood:

Toddlers develop the ability to manipulate objects with increasing sophistication, including using their fingers to twist dials, pull strings, push levers, turn book pages, and use crayons to produce crude scribbles. The dominance of either the right or left hand usually emerges during this period as well. Toddlers also add a new dimension to touching and manipulating objects by simultaneously being able to name them. Instead of only random scribbles, their drawings include patterns, such as circles. Their play with blocks is more elaborate and purposeful than that of infants, and they can stack as many as six blocks. With the help of a teacher, they are also able to fold a sheet of paper in half, string large beads, manipulate snap toys, play with clay, unwrap small objects, and pound pegs.

Toddlers and preschool:

The more delicate tasks facing preschool children, such as handling silverware or tying shoelaces, represent more challenge than most of the gross motor activities learned during this period of development. The central nervous system is still in the process of maturing sufficiently for complex messages from the brain to get to the child’s fingers. In addition, small muscles tire more easily than large ones, and the short, stubby fingers of preschoolers make delicate or complicated tasks more difficult. Finally, gross motor skills call for energy, which is boundless in preschoolers, while fine motor skills require patience, which is in shorter supply. Thus, there is considerable variation in fine motor development among this age group.

How to know if your child is in a high-quality preschool.

1. Children spend most of their time playing and working with materials or other children. They do not wander aimlessly and are not expected to sit quietly for long periods of time.

2. Children have access to various activities throughout the day. Toddlers should have

building blocks and other construction materials

props for pretend play

picture books

paints and other art materials

toys such as matching games, pegboards, and puzzles.

3. Teachers work with individual children, small groups, and the whole group at different times during the day. They do not spend all their time with the whole group.

4. The classroom is decorated with children’s original artwork, their own writing with invented spelling, and stories dictated by children to teachers.

5. Children learn numbers and the alphabet in the context of their everyday experiences.

6. Children have an opportunity to play outside every day. Outdoor play is never sacrificed for more instructional time.

7. The curriculum is adapted for those who are ahead as well as those who need additional help. Teachers recognize that children’s different background and experiences mean that they do not learn the same things at the same time in the same way.

8. Children and their parents look forward to school.

9. The teacher adds materials and activities that appeal to the children’s interests.

For toddlers, it’s important that a preschool has a strong identity, a sound philosophy, and a firm understanding of developmentally appropriate practices.

Why do you need to send your kids to childcare centre


Childcare centres are one of the essential necessities for childhood education. Your children need to learn and this learning cannot be done alone in the house. This is why you need professional help and you will find it in the childcare centre Singapore. At a child care centre, your kid will be able to learn a lot of things. The provision of opportunities is the right of kids and they will be provided with several opportunities in the child care centres. Here are some points that will highlight the importance of selecting childcare centre Singapore for your kid:

1.Development of a child’s academic ability:

The first and the most important benefit of a child care is the improvement in the education level of the kids. At a child care centre they will be able to learn several new concepts with the right equipment and techniques. All these initial concepts will help them in the later life. The importance of basic concepts at an early age cannot be ignored and child care centres play a major role in this.

2.Discipline and getting used to a fixed routine:

The start of the education is quite difficult for the kids. They need a lot of time to get used to of the routine. At a child care centre, they will have to follow a specified routine. There are no chances of deviation from that routine. This will include the quality of discipline in kids. They will be able to differentiate between the play time and other activities. The scheduled activities of kids will be quite satisfying for the parents too as they dont have to worry about the development and learning of their child.

3.Communication with adults:

As children have only specified adults in the family with which they interact. Also, they have a family relationship with these adults. It is essential for them to learn the art of interacting with adults they dont know. This is a skill that requires a lot of time and it is essential for boosting their confidence level. At childcare centre Singapore, there will be teachers, instructors and other adults with whom your child will interact. In this way, they will be able to learn the ways they need to consider for communicating their message.

4.Building self confidence in interacting with peers:

Peers are one of the essential segments of your kids life. They need to spend a lot of time with them. This is the only way to which they will be able to learn a lot of things. Spending some quality time with the peers is essential for the effective development of your kids. At childcare centre Singapore your kids will be able to interact with the kids of their age. As a result, they will learn several things in their company. Moreover, they will be provided by play partners as well.

5.Preparing for mainstream programs:

Childcare centre Singapore provides children with the opportunity to experience a smooth transition to the formal educational system. It has been found in several studies that the transition of kids to the formal educational system needs to be smooth. Kids that have not attended any formal Institute take a lot of time to get settled in the kindergarten. Kids that have gone to some child care centres tend to pass the phase quite smoothly.

There are countless benefits of getting your child admitted to childcare centre Singapore. They will be able to develop several abilities and qualities that are otherwise quite difficult to inculcate in them.

Best Enemies scores an 88% ‘Excellent’ Satisfaction Rating

Since the beginning of the school year, Best Enemies has visited and run workshops in schools across NSW, from PLC in Sydney on behalf of KYDs, to Mildura & Broken Hill with Mission Australia, Queanbeyan on behalf of Catholic Care to Inverell with the Inverell Family Youth Support Service.

We’ve visited thousands of young people, running activities and open discussions on the changing nature of friendships and engaging them on cyber safety, digital reputation and online privacy. Importantly young people are been up-skilled to be able to deal with these issues in a positive way with 88% of participants rating our workshops as ‘Excellent’ and schools reporting significantly lower levels of cyber bullying issues.

Glenwood High: Breaking silence to bust harassment

GLENWOOD High School has made a strong commitment to stop bullying and harassment.

Using the Bully Busters Two and Anti-Bullying Forum recently, the school is actively tackling the issue with principal Erla McMaster leading the way.

She spoke about silence being the bully’s best friend while deputy principal Lance Berry led students through the The Bully High School workshop.

It helped students understand the impact of bullying through video presentations and scenario studies.

The students were earlier welcomed by a song from Jessica Rogers and Kimberly Houseman, while Vicki McKenzie, representing the Nirimba TAFE Project’s Ignite the Town, made a brief presentation. This was followed by year 8’s Kimberly Houseman and her team’s impressive skit.

Lee-Ann Simons and Marta Vickland, actor/producers from the Best Enemies presented the award-winning film, directed by Ross Bark. “Students role played segments based on the film and enacted different endings to each part to show what action, support, confidence, and intervention could achieve,” school spokeswoman Shelley Brackley said.

“The Bully Busters Two presentation is compulsory for all year 7 students as part of the PDHPE curriculum, giving them an important insight into the many issues surrounding teenage bullying in schools. It explores bullying, sexual harassment, peer pressure, rumors, cyberbullying, racism,

Learnings from the Best Enemies Cyber Safety Forum

Over 100 people attended the Best Enemies Cyber Safety Forum at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) in Melbourne. There were teachers, curriculum managers, parents, well- being and anti-bullying experts and media. Look for a full report of the launch of this website to catch up all of the issues that were discussed on that evening and the twitter feed on it.

As an educator who was involved in the creation of the resource and as part of the panel discussion that evening I want to share some of the insights provided by the panel and the audience. Many in the audience had already viewed Best Enemies and knew what a powerful resource it is. They were highly engaged and they responded to the film and the panel discussion which followed with both comments and questions about the role that education can play in coping with covert bullying.

Among the many questions posed by Lee-Ann Simon, the moderator and the audience some issues brought up new ideas about the problem of covert bullying and how we view young people’s use of the internet and communication technologies. One of the questions that had everyone on the panel keen to contribute was who should have the main responsibility of dealing with bullying: schools or parents. Dr. Evelyn Field, a practising psychologist and expert in dealing with bullying and author of Bully Blocking discussed her experience in counseling young people who had been bullied. Evelyn emphasized the importance and influence of parents on both targets and bullies.

She pointed out that when parents are faced with the reality of their child having been bullied, it is an opportunity to help them develop resilience and some invaluable life skills. Children need to learn at a young age how to deal with difficult or nasty people and how to block bullies. Evelyn also emphasized the importance of anti-bullying programs in schools to reinforce values learnt at home.

Robin Treyvaud and I, both educationalists described how anti-bullying programs are working in schools and Robyn focused on whole school programs she is involved in that include the students, teachers, and community over a period of time. It was interesting to hear the opinion of Joe Grbac, with his experience of 18 years of police youth work. Joe is concerned that although excellent resources are being produced to help students become good digital citizens that they are not being used enough in schools.

At this point, Ross offered evidence from the Best Enemies programs in schools that resources do work and are very much valued when they are accompanied by school workshops for the students and teachers. My experience of creating these resources and receiving feedback from schools is that like all educational initiatives it takes motivated teachers and a program within the school that will tackle issues such as covert bullying, sexting, and good digital citizenship.

Resources like Best Enemies provide a really good jumping off place for schools because they involve students and parents in the whole process of combating challenges presented by students’ uses of technology. Tom Wood, who experienced harassment online and who now helps other young people, argued that young people themselves are the most powerful force for dealing with cyber issues such as covert bullying. I think everybody agreed that peer pressure is the most powerful force for helping young people become responsible for their behavior online and using communication technologies.

Everyone had positive stories to relate from young people reminding each other on social networks, blogs and chat rooms about ethical ways to behave. Schools are becoming more aware of the role of mentors too. In some cases this means older students mentoring younger students and in others acting to defuse situations arising amongst peers and friends when communications online become abusive or bullying. Since young people are at the heart of the benefits and challenges that are acknowledged as embedded in the digital world they enjoy and more and more cannot do without, the focus on them was a hot talking point.

Robyn in her key note introduction to Best Enemies earlier told every-one that It has become increasingly evident to her that it’s that how we frame the language and content about online issues such as cyberbullying, sexting, privacy and ethical choices with students that needs to be changed. “If you listen to them as I do you will find they don’t use vocabulary such as cyber safety, sexting and even cyberbullying but rather will describe the behaviours associated with the issue” She agreed with comments made by a teacher after working with the Best Enemies resources that “the film provided an opportunity for students to reflect on their own behaviours and how they can have a positive or negative impact on those around them.” The most impactful contribution of the launch for me was a moving account by Ali Halkic, whose 17-year-old son committed suicide after being cyber bullied. Ali affirmed the importance of parents being educated themselves about the internet and what young people are accessing on how they are communicating.

He agreed strongly with recommendations by panel members and the audience such as ensuring that the home computer is in a public area, playing games online with your children and being prepared to create and enforce rules about the use of social networking sites and other online activities. He feels that if his family had been more aware of his son’s and the bullies’ activities and had had an open line of communication with his son his death might have been prevented. The value of this forum for me and I’m sure for the others who attended was not only to hear a range of ideas and opinions from various experts but real-life experiences from an educational, psychological, social and in Ali’s case, parents’ points of view.

Lee Burton, B.A., M.A., Dip.Ed. is a committed and experienced senior educator with over 30 years of experience in the education sector as a secondary teacher, Senior Lecturer in Education and 5 years as Education Manager for the Australian Children’s Television Foundation (ACTF). Since 2007 Lee has acted as an independent consultant to the education sector for media and digital issues under the business name imMEDIAte issues. She is the Education Consultant for Screen Education, the national journal of the Australian Teachers of Media (ATOM Vic), and Education Consultant for the Age Education Resources Online. She regularly comments on media and digital issues for ABC radio and other media outlets. She has developed over 600 published education texts including books, courses, articles, and multimedia and internet resources and is currently the Education Advisor and a writer for Berry Street’s new Cybersafety website BeNetWise.