As part of the ECD Programme’s child protection programme, 2 of our partner ECD centres are receiving monthly protective behaviours activities for their pre-grade R classes. The activities are facilitated by ECD Field Coordinator, Alex Hamill, and ECD Community Liaison Officer, Mirriam Sipondo, who were both trained in the Protective Behaviours Curriculum in 2014.

The Protective Behaviours Program teaches children a range of skills and strategies to help prevent and reduce child abuse and violence. It aims to equip the children to recognise situations in which their personal safety and privacy could be at risk. According to their website, research suggests that children who have been taught Protective Behaviours are more able to discern threats to their safety and are more likely to suggest using personal safety strategies than children who have not been exposed to the curriculum.

The SAEP Protective Behaviours curriculum will run once a month from February to September for a total of 8 sessions at each centre. So far in 2015, we have run 4 sessions reaching a total of 50 children between the ages of 3-6 years and 5 ECD practitioners. The topics covered in these 4 sessions have been:

1)      Learning about and identifying feelings

2)      Early Warning Signs

3)      When it’s fun to feel scared and when we should tell someone

4)      Good vs. bad secrets

Even though the activity only occurs once a month, the children have been incredibly receptive to it and have remembered the information from month-to-month. Some memorable moments included playing the crocodile dentist game to demonstrate the early warning signs in a safe environment, practicing yelling their parent’s name if they got separated in a public space, and helping to decorate Mama Elephant’s home for her birthday during the story “The Elephant’s Surprise” to demonstrate the difference between good and bad secrets.