Goddard School hosts event to address bullying

February 1, 2011

By Shelby Lichliter

Bullying is on the rise in all levels of education, and The Goddard School, an Issaquah preschool, is taking a proactive stance against it by hosting a community game day Feb. 5.

Engaging activities including science experiments and musical chairs will allow children to interact positively, and parents will be given the chance to understand how the playful games support learning and collaborative behavior.

“As parents, educators and a community, we need to pull together to support children even at the earliest ages, to encourage them to mediate, to cooperate, to find ways to live alongside other children, even though there might be differences,” said Catherine Callan, owner of The Goddard School.

Callan opened The Goddard School franchise, one of more than 370 schools nationwide, 14 months ago. She is an educator as well as a parent, and her youngest son is a student there.

“It really makes me aware of the high standards that we expect from our teachers and our curriculum, and how we interact with the community and our families, because I’m a consumer of my own product,” Callan said.

The philosophy of Goddard schools is playful learning.

“We want to highlight the importance of play, highlight the scientifically based role of play in helping children develop critical life skills,” said Joe Schumacher, president and CEO of Goddard Systems. “We also want to educate parents about what their children are learning when they engage in developmentally appropriate play activities.”

Sue Adair, director of education for Goddard, offered tips for parents to help prevent bullying in children. They include:

  • Setting a good example.
  • Offering positive feedback.
  • Encouraging children to master a skill.
  • Trusting children with responsibility.
  • Listening attentively to children.

“We have taken a proactive approach for years, trying to encourage children to learn about friendship, compassion, cooperation, kindness,” Adair said. “We believe all of these traits build a child of confidence, and a confident child tends to avoid being bullied and avoid becoming a bully themselves.”

If you go

Goddard Community Games

  • 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Feb. 5
  • The Goddard School
  • 5716 E. Lake Sammamish Parkway S.E., Suite 100
  • The games are open to the public.
  • www.goddardschool.com/games

Shelby Lichliter is a student in the University of Washington Department of Communication News Laboratory. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

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