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Protective Behaviours

What do we mean by Protective Behaviours? 

As part of our work in school to keep children safe we teach Protective Behaviours.  This is a framework for personal safety which consists of 2 themes – ‘We all have the right to feel safe all the time’, and ‘We can all talk with someone about anything, even if it feels awful or small’. 

The first theme ‘We all have the right to feel safe all the time’ comes hand in hand with the responsibility to not do anything which would leave other people feeling unsafe.  We look at identifying when we feel unsafe by tuning into our ‘early warning signs’, those things, which are different for all of us, such as butterflies in our tummy or wobbly knees that let us know that we don’t feel ok in that situation.  Through the sessions we look in an age appropriate way at what we can do when we feel this way.  That action might be to contact someone in our support ‘network’. 

Theme 2 ‘We can talk with someone about anything, even if it feels awful or small’ supports this.  Throughout children’s work on Protective Behaviours in school, the idea of their ‘network’ is revisited.  This is the concept of 5 people who they might call on if they have identified they are feeling unsafe, ideally these people would be those who may be able to help them do some problem solving.  We encourage children to choose people from a range of places.  Having a network of people all of whom are at home is great but what happens if you are not at home when you need them? So variety and back up options are a good plan.

With the right support network and the language of safety to explain, children can feel confident and safe to get out there and have fun.

Two helpful information leaflets about Protective Behaviours can be found below if you would like to know more. 

Protective Behaviours at Birchwood
We teach 4 discrete sessions of age appropriate of the Protective Behaviours curriculum each year.  These are built on throughout the year and the 7 strategies are modelled and revisited. 
The language of safety is constantly reinforced.  Children may be asked to reflect on whether their fun was fun for everyone if a friend has become upset over not following the rules in a game for example.  This thinking about others in the words and body language we choose aligns with our one school rule of 'Consideration and Respect'.
We encourage children to regularly review their networks, especially around holiday times, to make sure they know who they would approach if they had their Early Warning Signs.  
When exploring situations, the children use the idea of a network hand, to explore the people they trust and would share their worries with if they felt unsafe.  These networks change depending on time and place and we regularly need to 'review' or think about the people on them and check they are still right for us right now.  
The learning from these taught sessions is then built on and revisited in our small group circle time check in and check out sessions, as well as in our PSHE lessons and through learning in the whole curriculum and beyond.