The Social-Inclusion Approach to Bullying
Bullying is something that affects people of all ages. Social isolation stands out in terms of the emotional distress and damage inflicted in childhood that can colour the rest of our lives. It is important to start early to address this problem as bullying is a learned behaviour and studies show that children who have been bullied are more likely to become bullies themselves.
The Whistler Waldorf School wanted to conscientiously implement an anti-bullying program. The Social Inclusion Approach is a unique “no blame” approach to combat childhood bullying, seeking to transform it into an opportunity for learning and growth.
The program provides tools to parents, teachers, students, and peers to cope with a range of social issues that can happen at school.
With a grant from the Jill Ackhurst Social Action Fund, the school brought program creator Kim John Payne to Whistler to work with the school in September 2013.
One aspect of the approach is a Student Advisory Council made up of students from grades 8, 9 and 10. Their role is to act as mentors to younger classes and help with exclusionary situations. The council meets regularly with a faculty coordinator.
Equally important is parent education which is critical for support from home.
As an added benefit for the community, the school hosted a public lecture with Kim Payne.
The school has also shared the opportunities for learning with School District 48.
So far the Waldorf School is experiencing positive results.