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.