Eden Public School students experienced a different kind of bullying education on Monday, with part two of the “Let’s S.T.A.M.P Out Bullying” show coming to town.
Performer Ruth Macaulay had the whole school in stitches with an array of magic tricks, and sidekicks including crocodile puppets and a talking drawing.
But all the fun combined to send a strong message to the students, with the S.T.A.M.P acronym teaching them to stay away from the bully, tell someone about what’s happening, always help others, make friends and play nicely.
“There is a real need in our schools to raise awareness and teach kids about what bullying looks like, because often we find that kids can be bullying someone without even realising it,” Ruth said.
“We have a big focus on raising awareness of what bullying looks like, and also teaching them how to deal with it by not being frightened or upset, staying confident and in control, and following the S.T.A.M.P acronym.
“It’s something I’m really passionate about, and hopefully the kids will take that away from it as well as enjoying the magic and the puppets.”
The show is the second of School Performance Tours’ two-part series on stamping out bullying, which is being performed right across the country.
The magic aspect of the show is designed to show the children that if you can perform tricks on a stage in front of a live audience, you also have the power to change a bad situation when confronted with bullying.
School principal John Davidson said anti-bullying measures are a priority for the Department of Education, and the performance is part of a wider strategy in place at Eden Public School.
Mr Davidson said the element of enjoyment in the show helps students to relate to the serious message behind it.
“It’s about giving them the confidence and the self-esteem to be able to respond to bullying,” he said.
“It teaches them different strategies and also to tell us about the situation so that we can act on it.
“The teachers can tell them these things every day, but something like this that is done in a fun way will stick in the minds of the vast majority of these kids.”
Mr Davidson said the school has a good track record in regards to bullying, with an overwhelming number of families providing positive feedback on the school’s handling of any incidents.
He said that of around 190 families with children enrolled at the school, only six had raised concerns in an annual survey, and that the school had taken this feedback on board and continued to work with the families to address their issues.
“We also work with the parents and hold workshops with them, which is something we’ll be doing again later this year,” he said.
“This performance and other workshops that we’ve had here in the past are all part of a wider strategy around anti-bullying.”