The best relationships are respectful ones.
“Research shows that students who participate in rigorously designed and well taught social and emotional learning programs demonstrate more positive social behaviour, are less likely to engage in risky and disruptive behaviour, and show improved academic outcomes. Collaborative learning activities help students to build their social skills. Building a large vocabulary for emotions helps to increase emotional literacy, build self-awareness and empathy for others.”
(This paragraph is taken from the first page of the grade 1/2, newly developed Respectful Relationships curriculum resource package.)
What is Respectful Relationships?
- The Respectful Relationships learning program is being rolled out across the state and many schools including BHPS have jumped on board. Encompassing theory and lessons around how students can learn how to interact and behave in a respectful manner, the program is a direct response to the Royal Commission into Family Violence which recommended Respectful Relationships be introduced to all schools to change attitudes and reduce the prevalence of family violence in future generations.
- Respectful Relationships is an initiative to help young Victorians deal with a range of challenges they may face and supports them to develop into respectful and resilient young people, engaged learners and healthy citizens of the world.
- Respectful Relationships takes a whole school approach – not just teaching and learning but also examining practices and policies to build a culture of respect and equality in our schools.
- The Respectful Relationships curriculum is also designed to help students learn about gender equity and the acceptance of the differences between us all.
Some of the content in the RR program is already well and truly taught through our Positive Education approach to wellbeing and social and emotional learning. However, some of the content will need to be specifically taught through well-designed lessons provided to teachers in the resources.
Respectful Relationships work will complement and enhance our program and increase the student’s and the school community’s perceptions of what it means to be a truly accepting society.
Each unit of work will endeavour to teach students the way forward in preparing them for a world where gender equity is fast becoming a reality in many ways. At BHPS, I believe our students have a high acceptance of individual difference and we have a very inclusive environment for all students. However, there is still work to do. We have introduced the By Standers course and Peer Mediation, which you may have heard about. Our peer mediators are highly visible in the playground and assist students who may be having some difficulties interacting with their peers. Although in its early stages of implementation, it is proving to be quite successful. Our bystander training is also having an impact and we are able to identify positive by standers everyday who use their confidence and sensibilities to intervene in situations to help their peers.
I am more than confident that we are moving in the right direction with our Personal social education at Barwon Heads Primary School and the long-term benefits of Respectful Relationship education will be obvious in years to come.