Behaviour danger

At Country Bears we are very aware of how vulnerable children are.  We promote respectful and reciprocal relationships with our children and whanau.  Through these relationships, we can provide guidance and support to our teachers, children and families.

We are all aware of “Stranger Danger”, but this concept is now being discredited, as harm to children is likely to come from people who are known to the child.  Behaviour danger could include unwanted or inappropriate behaviour that can make children feel uncomfortable, unfamiliar, scared or unsafe. 

Country Bears is all about keeping our children safe, so to extend on this, we host the “Keep Safe Programme” which is facilitated by a private organisation called “Help”.  This five-week programme is delivered to 20 of our eldest children and their whanau.  It covered concepts of personal safety and sexual safety which can seem daunting and maybe even inappropriate.  However, the amazing facilitator (who has over 20 years’ experience in delivering this programme), delivered the content in an age-appropriate way.

Research tells us that all children, regardless of ethnicity, socio-economic status, gender and age, are at risk of being sexually abused.  This programme gives the child and family the tools to make this less likely to happen.  The programme helps give the child language to talk about their own personal safety with confidence, to seek help (and to know how and who to seek help from), and also helps adults to respond to a child’s disclosure.

The five week sessions are broken down into 45 minute fun, interactive sessions with the children, families and teachers.  They cover aspects such as: Body Awareness, Touches & Feelings, Telling, Keeping Safe, and Story Telling.  Resources are also given each week to explain to the whanau the content of the day’s sessions, a workbook and an information book which have all the songs that are used to promote keeping safe.

We believe that keeping our children safe should be a community-wide approach.  Children need to feel confident and comfortable to talk to a trusted adult about anything that may be causing concern to them.  The Keep Safe Programme reinforces to the child that if anything doesn’t feel right to them, then it probably isn’t right, and to seek help from a trusted adult.  They also explain to the children, that if the person that they disclose to doesn’t believe them, to go to someone else and to keep telling until somebody does listen.

As well as reinforcing safety to our children, the teachers and whanau are also given tools to detect anything suspicious (emotional or physical) and to know where to go for support and guidance.  We would encourage that all preschools take the opportunity to provide this programme at their centre so that all parents and children can have access to this information.

If you would like any further information about the Keep Safe programmes, you can call them on 09 377 9898 or visit their website www.helpauckland.org.nz/.  If you have concerns that a child is being abused, you can call the 24-hour number 0800 623 1700.

If you would like to visit our wonderful Centre, designed to provide the children space and time to develop at their own individual time, give us a call on 09 412 8055 to arrange a suitable time.  In the meantime, check out our Facebook page: www.facebook.com/cbearsecc or website www.countrybears.co.nz.