The statistics in Australia regarding domestic and family violence against women are very alarming, with evidence showing that in many cases young children are witness to this violence. The Royal Commission into Family Violence identified the critical role that schools have in creating a culture of respect to change the story of family violence for future generations.
Kingsville Primary school is involved in the second phase of Respectful Relationships implementation, making us one of the 66 schools in the west of Melbourne involved in this important initiative. Our uptake shows our commitment to embedding the ideals we value; that of promoting an inclusive environment which respects the diversity within our community. Our IB’s mission statement states… “to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect”.
The Victorian Government has invested $21.8 million to support Respectful Relationships in Victorian schools. Respectful Relationships initiative supports schools to promote and model respect, positive attitudes and behaviours. It teaches our children how to build healthy relationships, resilience and confidence. Curriculum has been developed to support this important Government program. The Resilience, Rights and Respectful Relationship program is a Teaching and Learning component which will be implemented in all classrooms. This is an evidence based program, which highlights the elements of Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) and effective approaches to promoting respectful relationships.
These concepts link naturally with the philosophy of the PYP and our Units of Inquiry. They align with the Heath and Physical Education and Personal and Social Capabilities strands of the Victorian Curriculum.
The classroom Program will focus on 8 key areas:
Emotional Literacy: This helps students develop the ability to be aware of, understand and use vocabulary about the emotional states of themselves and others with competence.
Personal Strengths: Students develop a vocabulary to help them recognise and understand various strengths and positive qualities in themselves and others. They identify the strengths they admire in others and those they need to draw on to engage with the challenges and opportunities that life presents.
Positive Coping: Students develop language around coping, critically reflect on their coping strategies and extend their repertoire of positive coping strategies.
Problem-solving: Students learn a range of problem-solving techniques that can be applied when confronting
personal, social and ethical dilemmas. They engage in applied learning tasks in which they apply their problem-solving skills to be realistic.
Stress management: This teaches students to learn a range of problem-solving skills through applied learning tasks, so that they are able to cope with challenges as they arise.
Help-seeking: Help seeking is a coping strategy that involves seeking technical, instrumental, social or emotional support from other people.
Gender and identity: These are age-appropriate learning activities that assist students to understand and critique the influence of gender norms on attitudes and behaviours.
Positive gender relationships: This teaches students to build positive gender relationships and the importance of acceptance of difference and diversity.
The Respectful Relationships whole-school approach recognises that schools are a workplace, a community hub and a place of learning. Everyone involved in our school community deserves to be respected, valued and treated equally. We know that changes in attitudes and behaviours can be achieved when positive attitudes, behaviours and equality are lived across the school community, and when classroom learning is reinforced by what is modelled in our school community.
The best relationships are respectful ones. By working together, we can create real and lasting change and help to address gender inequality and prevent family violence.