The Children and Youth Safety Program includes two age-appropriate programs: "Talking About Touching (grades K-3)" and "Keeping Children Safe (grades 4-8)."
Talking About Touching (K-3)
The Talking About Touching curriculum is put together by the Committee for Children in Seattle and focuses on teaching children basic skills that will help keep them safe from dangerous or abusive situations, while supporting parents, educators and community members in responding effectively to suspected abuse. This curriculum is in use nationally and is also provided to schools within the Massachusetts public school system through the Massachusetts Children's Trust Fund, a highly respected, longstanding organization that leads statewide efforts to support parents and strengthen families thereby preventing child abuse. It also has a parent video called "What Do I Say Now?" that will be used in both the parishes and the schools.
The program for children begins with a review of basic safety rules and issues building up to the key general safety rule, the always ask first rule (always ask the adult in charge for permission before going anywhere). This general safety rule is the basis for introducing the issue of appropriate touch and the touching rule. All these rules and situations are reviewed with cards with pictures and through skill practice role plays. Although the program is specifically concerned with rules about touching, the assertiveness and confidence it helps children develop is helpful in other areas of their life as well.
Keeping Children Safe—Grades 4-8
The program for grades 4-5 begins with a general discussion of safety rules for being alone and discussing the application of these rules to hypothetical situations, leading to a review of the 3 D’s: if something is Dangerous, Destructive, or Disturbing, tell an adult. This initial discussion is further developed by exploring trickier situations, a review of the touching rules and application to new situations. The material includes worksheets for the children to write down their safety rules, the names and numbers of where they can get help, and the trick alert review.
The program for grades 6-8 further develops the safety rules and applications for going places alone and/or with friends, and goes on to include a discussion on online safety, qualities of good friendships and relationships and dealing with bullying and harassment.
Recommended website for online safety for parents, kids, and teens: www.netsmartz.org
Recommended book for reviewing safety situations with children: What Would You Do--A Kid's Guide to Tricky and Sticky Situations by Linda Schwartz