HAVEN’s Violence Prevention Educators travel to schools all over Rockingham and Strafford counties to provide classroom by classroom, age-appropriate, interactive curricula to grades K-12. Our educators lay the foundation of violence prevention with elementary school age children by teaching them our Personal Body Safety Rules, which focus on bodily autonomy, listening to instincts, and seeking help from trusted adults if they ever feel hurt, confused, or scared. In grades K-4 the educators reinforce these messages with fun and engaging puppet shows that allow the students to help the puppets make the important decision to get help from a grown up.
In middle school, HAVEN’s programming addresses the needs of older students. The presentations focus on boundaries, sexual harassment and bullying, consent, healthy relationships, and more. The educators use media, interactive surveys, and group activities to keep the material engaging and accessible to a wide variety of learning needs and styles.
Sexual violence, domestic violence, and teen dating violence can have significant negative effects on individuals and families. We know that exposure to trauma in childhood and adolescence can put kids at higher risk of re-victimization, substance abuse, and mental health challenges in adolescence and adulthood. At HAVEN, our goal is to prevent violence from happening in the first place, and to get comprehensive care for kids who have experienced trauma.
HAVEN Prevention Education Programs
Students in grades K-5 participate in HAVEN’s Personal Body Safety (PBS) program. The guiding principle of PBS is that everybody deserves to be safe. Each grade has a presentation that was designed to be engaging, informative, and age-appropriate. Although the level of complexity changes as students grow older, the foundation of all of the presentations is the same: teaching and reinforcing our Personal Body Safety Rules. With the help of their puppet friends, the educators teach that:
- My Body Belongs to Me
- Touches in Private Areas Are Only to Keep Me Clean and Healthy
- Touches in Private Areas Are Never a Secret
- If I Ever Feel Hurt, Confused, or Scared, I Can Talk to a Grown-up I Trust
- It’s Never Too Late to Tell
In kindergarten the presentation focuses primarily on My Body Belongs to Me and talking to trusted adults. The presentation is done with two animal puppets who help the kindergarteners think of adults at home, school, and in the community that they can talk to if they ever feel uncomfortable or unsafe.
In first and second grade, the educators teach the safety rules and then the puppets join the class. The puppets are fun and silly to get the kids engaged, and then present a problem where someone has made one of them feel hurt or uncomfortable. The educators guide the class towards helping the puppet make the important decision to talk to a trusted grown-up.
The third and fourth grade presentation continues to reinforce the safety rules and the puppet show follows a similar format. Third and fourth graders have an additional conversation with educators about listening to their instincts and “safe secrets” (examples given include secret handshakes with friends and surprise parties) versus “unsafe secrets” (a secret that makes them feel hurt, confused or scared, i.e. secrets they can always tell a trusted adult.)
5th Grade: Boundaries
In this single class session, 5th graders are taught about personal boundaries and how to set healthy boundaries and respect other people’s boundaries This interactive workshop begins with an activity that allows students to reflect on their own boundaries both in person and online and see how boundaries can be different for different people, but that all boundaries should be respected. Facilitators then use storytelling and guided discussion to help students determine what someone can do if their boundaries are crossed. Students are reminded of the Personal Body Safety Rules that are introduced to K-4 grade students, emphasizing the points that they can always talk to a trusted adult if they are feeling hurt, embarrassed, or afraid.
In a single class session, 6th grade students are engaged in a dialogue about healthy relationships and what signs and qualities of a healthy relationship could look like. Educators lead a discussion about ALL types of relationships, including relationships with family, friends, peers, partners, and the students’ own relationships with themselves. Activities and discussion focus on positive qualities that students want to bring into their relationships and important traits that they look for in their relationships with others, including trust, respect, loyalty, humor, and more. Students leave with a broader understanding of how to foster healthy relationships with themselves and others.
In 7th grade, a one or two-session program engages students with a straightforward, age-appropriate discussion of sexual harassment and gender-based bullying. The students begin by discussing the differences between playing, flirting, bullying, and sexual harassment. Students define each action and describe and discuss both physical and verbal actions that are considered sexual harassment. The second (optional) session focuses on online sexual harassment, using examples of social media platforms relevant to students today. Students then go on to have a guided discussion about how sexual harassment can affect their peers socially and emotionally. The program concludes with a wrap-up discussion about why sexual harassment is against the law at work and at school, and how students can be active bystanders by sticking up for others and getting help from trusted adults.
The CARE series (Consent, Awareness, Respect, and Empathy) is a two-session series that builds a foundation of understanding about consent and victim-blaming. The first day focuses on the topic of consent, with interactive activities designed to help students understand that they need consent for all kinds of interactions, and that asking for consent is crucial. Students will engage in discussion, working through yes and no messages regarding consent. Day 2 concentrates on victim blaming with an engaging story and group processing that helps students to understand that sexual assault is never the victim’s fault.