It’s a tough topic to talk about, but Bravehearts is tackling the issue of child sexual and physical assault head on. Their acclaimed ‘Ditto’s Keep Safe Adventure’ show will be delivered to a record breaking 55,000 Australian students this school term, teaching personal safety tactics and the invaluable skill of trusting your gut.
The 40-minute live production teaches kids aged three to eight the strategies and skills they need to stay safe, be it from bullying to sexual assault, as well as how to stay safe online.
A Deputy Principal from Hilliard State School in Alexandra Hills says the program is a fantastic resource for schools to address such complex issues.
“It supports the teachers as well as parents, educating them in how to raise kids while addressing these safety issues with a clear professional message,” he says.
Braveheart Founder Hetty Johnson says the beauty of the program is that the rules Ditto teaches children are incredibly simple and effective, making it easy for parents and carers to reinforce the safety messages at home in a non-confronting way.
“Preventing child sexual assault starts with educating and empowering children with vital knowledge and skills to keep safe and encouraging teachers, carers, parents and other members of the community to play their part in creating child-safe environments,” says Hetty.
The show is built around five key principles, taught by the loveable lion cub, Ditto. They include teaching children:
1) To trust their feelings and to distinguish between ‘yes’ and ‘no’ feelings
2) To say ‘no’ to adults if they feel unsafe and unsure
3) That they own their own bodies
4) That nothing is so yucky that they can’t tell someone about it
5) That if they feel unsafe or unsure to run and tell someone they trust.
“It was a terrific presentation that gave a clear message to students about feeling safe and how to address when not feeling ok,” says another teacher from Northern Bay College. “It really stressed the importance of telling a teacher or parent, with great songs to interact with.”
Since 2008 the program has reached more than 600,000 children across Australia, and that number is only growing as more and more schools and child care centres eagerly await their turn.
To help address their lengthy waiting list Bravehearts has also developed their ‘Ditto in a Box’ education pack, which guides children’s instinctive understandings and feelings around their personal safety in a way that is non-confronting, safe and highly effective.
The pack contains five teaching modules on safety as well as warning signs, scenario cards, music and storybooks. It also provides support to teachers, guiding them on how to identify harmed children, respond to sexual assault disclosure, and how and when a teacher should report to certain organisations.
“The use of colourful posters, flashcards, a fun activity book, story books, DVD of the Ditto Show, Ditto’s Keep Safe CD Rom and music all help to engage younger students,” says Hetty.
“Since Ditto’s Keep Safe Adventure was introduced it has really been embraced by schools and early learning centres which has given us a significant boost towards our commitment to reaching every Australian child with our child safety message.”
For more information about the Ditto Keep Safe Adventure Show, or to book the program for your school, please visit www.bravehearts.org.au.