Reduce bullying - promote kindness

As part of Bullying-Free NZ Week, Oaklands School’s focus has been on teaching kindness to prevent bullying.

The work at the school by students and staff has not been complicated or grandiose but rather consistent daily activities focused on kindness to make a difference.

The school had a variety of fun events and activities to support kindness that included Paper Chain, Kind Hearts, Kindness Matrix, Kindness Boomerang, and Kindness Challenges, finishing the week with Pink Shirt Day on Friday.

“We also enjoyed presentations and videos throughout the week, including Oat the Goat” said Daniel James, Student council representative.

Throughout the week students have learnt how acts of kindness in both words and actions can have a positive impact on the world they live in.

“It was amazing to see how the kindness boomerang had a ripple effect.” Student Council representative Brayden Woodgate said.

The activities allowed students to experience first-hand the results from even the smallest kind act.

Kindness challenges

Student Council representative Ashley White said, “The kindness challenges and giving each other compliments through the kindness matrix was a great way of learning what we can do to stop bullying.”

The student council have worked really hard promoting kindness to create a really happy environment at their school.

The students enjoyed the extra responsibility preparing for the week of activities and promoting that kindness is the norm. “We are setting an example for the rest of the students and doing fun things that everyone can get involved in.” Brianna Greaves, from the Student Council said.

Kind heart displays

As a surprise for staff the Student Council installed the kind hearts display at the school reception with the messages from students showing what they have done to be kind to someone.

Staff had their kind heart display in the staffroom illustrating their commitment to a bully-free school. Madeline Laing from the Student Council said, “It showed we all want to stand up against bullying and help other students.”

Oaklands School’s paper chain has over 600 student statements on what they will do to help prevent or respond to bullying behaviour. Every paper chain link was added to the chain by members of the student council and presented to a full assembly on Monday following bully free week.

Focus on cyberbullying

Another focus during the week was cyberbullying, which can be a bigger issue than face-to-face bullying.

The school had cybersafety expert John Parsons talk to students which included information on what to do if they are in trouble or concerned when online. Riley Betman from the Student Council said, “It was important to listen to all the stuff that was talked about.”

Involving the community 

And as habits are formed by behaviour in the home parents and staff from neighbouring schools were also invited to attended presentations so everyone can be part of changing anti-social behaviour via social networks.

To ensure students voices continue to be heard the school set up a school values voting wall. This provides the opportunity for teachers to look at what the children value and the school will tie the results in with the curriculum as part of the schools ongoing work to address bullying.

The week long activities finished with many students and staff members wearing pink in support of anti-bullying efforts with the school eager to continue on the path of being kind towards others. Student council representative Sam Tilson said, “The week really united the school against bullying.”

“We learnt how we can help others and we want to continue to stand up against bullying.” said Student Council representative, Jak O'connell.

As a thank you for all the work the student council have done they were gifted their pink shirts from the school and are considering wearing their pink shirts on some Fridays throughout the year.

“This is another way we can highlight the importance of kindness to prevent bullying after the fun week of activities.” Said student council representative Noah King.

Oaklands School Principals Margaret Trotter said, “Our work to reduce bullying will be ongoing; our ultimate goal is to increase kindness to reduce bullying.”

Oaklands School incorporated activities from the bullyingfreenz resource pack and the KiVa programme already in place at the school.

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