Monday, October 17, 2011

Bully Ban Workshop: Bringing Bullying in Schools to an End


Written by: Jillian Toyad

A bully is defined as a person who teases, threatens or hurts smaller or weaker persons repeatedly. The act of bullying takes many forms – physical, social, verbal and cyberbullying – all of which can cause much damage, mainly emotional, to the victim.  Bullying is a serious concern in all our schools and is not an issue that can be overlooked. That is why First Stage has a Bully Ban workshop to educate children about the problems with bullying and how to face the issue as both someone who is involved or an observer.
First Stage's Bully Ban Workshop
First Stage’s Bully Ban Workshop examines all the different forms of bullying that occur in school communities. The workshop works to promote respect and tolerance among classmates, as well as teach tactics in problem solving, positive conflict resolution and how to overcome obstacles – all through theatrical and artistic activities. Younger participants usually investigate bullying through storytelling and role-playing where else the older participants will have activities such as improvisational scenes, character hot seating and sculpting. The workshop is tailored for every individual grade, from K4 to Grade 8, and addresses the specific needs of each school or classroom involved.
This month is Bullying Prevention Awareness Month and First Stage wants to ensure that everyone, be it children, parents or educators, is fully aware of the harm that bullying can bring to a child. While the Bully Ban Workshop educates children on the issue, it is also important for parents and educators to recognize the warning signs of both a child who is being bullied and a child that is bullying others. Here are a few tips:
Things You Need to Know About Bullying
Warning signs of being bullied:
  • Comes home with damaged or missing clothing or other belongings
  • Reports losing items such as books, electronics, clothing, or jewelry
  • Has unexplained injuries
  • Complains frequently of headaches, stomachaches, or feeling sick
  • Has trouble sleeping or has frequent bad dreams
  • Has changes in eating habits
  • Hurts themselves
  • Are very hungry after school from not eating their lunch
  • Runs away from home
  • Loses interest in visiting or talking with friends
  • Is afraid of going to school or other activities with peers
  • Loses interest in school work or begins to do poorly in school
  • Appears sad, moody, angry, anxious or depressed when they come home
  • Talks about suicide
  • Feels helpless
  • Often feels like they are not good enough
  • Blames themselves for their problems
  • Suddenly has fewer friends
  • Avoids certain places
  • Acts differently than usual
Warning signs of bullying others:
  • Becomes violent with others
  • Gets into physical or verbal  fights with others
  • Gets sent to the principal’s office or detention a lot
  • Has extra money or new belongings that cannot be explained
  • Is quick to blame others
  • Will not accept responsibility for their actions
  • Has friends who bully others
  • Needs to win or be best at everything
Research shows that bullying is one of the main causes for many psychological or emotional problems, as well as the reason some choose to partake in social ills. Therefore, with enough awareness and effort in eradicating bullying in all schools, we could shape a generation of healthy and confident young people. We believe every child has the right to a safe and wholesome school environment, and every child has the right to grow up to a wonderful, healthy life.
Help prevent bullying and create a better world for our kids!
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The Bully Ban Workshop is part of First Stage’s concept of teaching through theater. This program introduces a series of arts-integrated workshops that aims to teach lessons throughout the elementary and middle school curricula. The Teaching Through Theater programs enhance students' understanding and comprehension of curricular topics through dramatic learning techniques such as role play, improvised scene work, movement based exercises and pantomime. 
The workshops are priced at $300 for the first classroom and $250 for each subsequent classroom. Workshops catered to those in Grades K4 to 2 will consist of two 50 minute sessions within one week where else those for Grades 3 to 8 will consist of two 75 minute sessions within one week.
For information, or to schedule a workshop for your classroom, contact (414) 267-2978 or workshops@firststage.org

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