Bullying has become a true problem among America’s youth, but thanks to programs like “No More BULLIES” children are becoming better equipped with the skills they need to stand up for themselves and for others.
The “No More BULLIES” Program in Kansas City Schools is a unique violence prevention curriculum that uses dogs to helps children learn how to deal with bullies, as well as teaching them compassion, responsibility, self-control, and many other positive things.
The program was developed by Jo Dean Hearn, an ex-teacher and the humane education director at Wayside Waifs. Children in Grades 3 through 5 are taught by trained volunteers for an hour each day for five days. Lovable canines accompany the volunteers and are a critical part of the program’s success.
Through the program children are given the skill set to solve problems in a loving, caring and productive way for all involved and the courage to stand up for themselves and those who are weaker.
Since it’s small start five years ago, the “No More BULLIES” program has become extremely successful and there is a long waiting list of students who wish to take part in the interactive class.
Hearn’s program is just one of many similar programs across the US that use dogs to teach children how to better relate and communicate with their peers.
“The animals are the glue that helps the children stay focused and understand the message,” says Hearn during an interview with USA Today. “Children can easily identify with an animal. And it’s easy for them to transition when we ask them to consider how an animal feels (if ill treated) to how the kid sitting near them feels (if poorly treated).”
Matia Finn-Stevenson, an expert on child development, and schools and learning, points to a child’s love of animals as to why programs like this work so well.
“Why it works is simple, says Finn-Stevenson: “Children have an affinity for animals. When animals are the topic of their writing or reading exercises, they are engaged.”
To learn more about this fascinating program visit the Wayside Waifs website.