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An effective counter to school bullying

Tuesday April 4 2006

Kiwi Can programme proves an effective counter to school bullying

The Kiwi Can values programme being delivered in 56 schools around New Zealand is demonstrating excellent results in reducing bullying, says the organisation's chair, Quentin Hix.

Mr Hix says Kiwi Can is aimed at primary and intermediate schools, and among other things encourages children to rise to life's challenges, to develop self-belief and form positive behaviours.

"The programme has been delivered since 1997 in schools in various parts of the country, and has shown itself to be very effective in helping children to become independent, respectful individuals who can solve problems without resorting to violence.

"The schools involved have reported a sharp reduction in the incidence of bullying, and in some cases it has virtually been eliminated."

A typical example is Taita Central School in the Hutt Valley, whose principal Mike Fackney, says the programme has shown excellent results.

"In the time the programme has been in the school, incidents of bullying have virtually disappeared, and students have developed better skills for dealing with disputes."

Mr Hix says a key to the success of the programme is that it is delivered by specially trained leaders on a regular weekly basis as part of the school curriculum.

"It is part of the schools' regular activities, with the messages being reinforced at frequent intervals. The values are not only taught by local, suitable role models; but are followed up and practiced to the extent that they become the school norm for behaviour standards."

Classroom teachers attend the lessons and follow up work in class and in the playground to ensure the success of the programme.

Kiwi Can is funded largely through sponsorship money raised by local Kiwi Can trusts, with limited support from the Ministry of Education. The schools themselves also have to meet some of the cost of the programme.

Most of the cost is associated with salaries for the programme leaders who go into the schools.

"Given the success we have achieved over the last six or seven years, it would be great to see this programme delivered into more schools; but as usual it all comes down to money," says Mr Hix.

"With more funding we could achieve spectacular results and see more children given the opportunity to unlock their potential and develop a Œcan-do attitude'"

Mr Hix adds that the benefits of the programme go beyond the immediate school environment, and can often be seen having a direct and positive effect on the wider community.


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