Students at two Naperville schools will be learning skills to build self-esteem and self-confidence, keys to preventing bullying.
The Goddard School will be hosting its Community Games next week, which will focus on building friendships and incorporating playful learning so children gain skills to prevent bullying. The Goddard School has locations in and on .
The Community Games begin Feb. 6 with friendship day and every day of the week will have a different theme, said Gail Shelton, an educational director at the Goddard School. The other themed days are Play Along Day, Goddard Good Deed Day, when students will bring in items for , Goddard Cares Day and Community Hero Day, which will have a law enforcement official visit the schools.
“The Community games are done every year but they have a different theme or focus,” Shelton said. “This year the focus is on friendship and community and ultimately bully proofing.”
Children will be focusing on the characteristics of compassion, caring and kindness, she said.
“We are seeing it younger and younger where children will say, ‘I don’t want to play with you’ or leave children out, which we know will lead to hurting the child,” Shelton said. “We are seeing it in school districts where children are getting hurt. We know as educators, if your child has a high self-esteem they won’t allow [bullying] to happen. Or they will go to a teacher or an adult.”
The week of activities also helps to educate parents who are often unsure how to address bullying or who aren’t sure of the signs, she said.
“What do you do if your daughter comes home and says ‘nobody wants to play with me,’” Shelton said. “Children need to know when to speak up when something isn’t right.”
While children will be getting the tools to prevent bullying the program also incorporates what Goddard believes are the six critical skills for successful learning: collaboration, communication, content, critical thinking, creative innovation and confidence. Through activities and lessons each of those skills is addressed.
"We make learning enjoyable and we build in lots of opportunity for each child to experience the satisfaction of success,” Joe Schumacher, CEO of Goddard Systems, Inc. said in a news release. “A key benefit of this approach to learning is its emphasis on building self-esteem and confidence as children try, and succeed at, new challenges. A confident child is much less likely to develop into a bully or to accept bullying from another child."
The week will culminate in an open house on Feb. 11 for members of the community, Shelton said. It is an opportunity for those interested in the school or who want to learn more about its programs to visit and get a first-hand view. The open houses will be held at both Goddard School locations from 10 a.m. to noon Feb. 11.
Learn more about the event at the Goddard School.