The “Taking A Stand” TAS Program:
Helping Children Use Critical thinking to Prevent Violence and Sexual Abuse
The phenomenon of sexually harassing behavior begins at a young age. Giladi (2004) found that about 20% of children’s’ games between the ages of 5 to 9 include elements of violent behaviour and sexual harassment. Sexually charged behaviours—for example, forcibly pulling down a child’s pants, kissing without mutual consent, touching, and holding genital areas–are usually viewed as a curiosity by children or as mischievous behavior by adults, but not as sexual harassment. For many children, however, these behaviours have long-term consequences.
Speaking to children about these undesirable issues or simply raising awareness among educators is not enough. We need programs that target the innate psychological underpinnings that lead to prevention against and resilience in responding to these challenging situations. We need guided professional development programs for teachers that are accompanied with a series of curriculum activities that help children develop their critical thinking skills, and their understanding of high-order concepts such as dignity, equality, and respect.
The programme “Taking A Stand”, brought to life by the use blended (pre-recorded and live) training program with the use of 2D cartoons, aims at creating a safe environment for children to discuss these issues and improve their sense of security. This unique programme teaches very young children to use critical thinking and targets children in kindergarten, and the first and second grades. The programme has been approved by the Israeli Ministry of Education and got exceptional accomplishment from Childhood Education International’s Recognition (CEI) of excellence Professional Development.
The training begins with introductory exposure involving school staff and interested parents. These trainings help participants to identify different forms of violent behaviors including sexual harassment and possible prevention strategies. Teachers, principals, and parents frequently bring up cases of problematic behaviours during these lectures, for which they feel that they lack appropriate responses.
In the next stage, facilitators begin implementing the carefully structured eight-week program. During each one hour weekly meeting, facilitators– with the help of a turtle, a snail, and a frog – introduce children to the concepts of respect , dignity , and equality , using interactive stories, 2D cartoons, discussions and classroom activities. The children also learn about their bodies and the boundaries of personal space and begin to identify emotions related to sexual harassment. They learn about the obligation of reporting incidences of sexual harassment and, at the end, create a program of personal safety.
The“Taking A Stand” TAS program was recently implemented in Aljabr primary school, Morocco, thanks to support from Childhood Education International. Over 30 children aged 7-8 years old successfully completed the program as part of their English class in partnership with a small group of devoted teachers who understood the importance of this work for children’s life.
“The program was efficient for primary school students especially at that age, when students cannot talk freely. Rarely when we can discuss that topic of sexual harassment with our children, most people think it is taboo, but it is not. If you do not talk, I do not talk, others do not talk. Who can explain it to our children? Thanks to “Taking A Stand “ program I can see that my students can now express themselves and voice their voices whereas they are not in a secure situation. I advise everyone to use this program it really gives fruitful results. I cannot deny that the platform contributes a lot in making that program successful because it facilitates everything in front of the students with videos, songs, dialogues, also all the instructions which we can follow to get the target.” Suakaina Ennayem, Aljabr school, Morocco
Dr. Ayelet Giladi, educational sociologist, consultant, prevention expert and an educational program, the founder and director of VOCA said after evaluating the teachers work in Morocco:
“It is amazing how young children can take the life skill program in English and develop in it, even if it is not their mother tongue. Toward the end of the program one of the boys ask permission to talk in front of the class and share how in an afternoon play with his friend, he was forced to pull down his pants and under pants. He felt confident to share it with his teachers and with his friend in class. In that stage the teacher had the tools to talk about it and to build with the students the safety program. This kind of behaviour probably would never be mentioned if the program was not taking place in this class”.
Sadly, many young children believe that some of these abusive behaviours are normal or expected. However, it was very exciting to see that teachers who took part in the program thrived from the process. They not only engaged mentally but, while implementing the activities with children, the teachers brought their energy and passion into each play activity. Body language of teachers and children showed engagement, joy, and happiness. Despite the physical distance of the teachers and children, the GCA platform was effective in helping teachers get through the program, skill by skill, unit by unit. Teachers who took part in the program will continue to use these activities and embed them into future classes and groups that they will work with over the years.
“This Morocco case strength the assumption that It does not matter where you are located in the world, the digital technique allows the programs values to be universal and globally connected with goal of protecting children from sexual abuse and violence”.
Find out more about “Taking A Stand” by getting in touch with Voice of the Child Association (VOCA) email@example.com, or click here to read the course description.
Voice of the Child Association (VOCA)
Voice Of Child is a global organization that specializes in the development and implementation of programs, preventing sexual harassment amongst children from an early age. Our programmes target young children and the adults, who are in contact with them, giving them the tools to identify, prevent and cope with the phenomenon. Our programming teaches children the values of mutual respect, integrity, and equality, and thus contributes to the self-empowerment of each boy and girl.
Childhood Education International (CE International)
Childhood Education International mission is to develop and amplify innovative solutions to education challenges that affirm children’s learning and development as the pathway to sustainable futures for all. CE International’s comprehensive approach considers factors directly affecting children’s wellbeing, provides support to the transformative leaders in their orbit, and explores innovative ways to evolve the education systems that encompass all learning opportunities.
Global Childhood Academy (GCA) Platform
GCA is an online learning platform that enables organisations and adults serving children.
The GCA platform allows for seamless self-paced, and live virtual credentialing and upskilling of adults who work with young children.