While it is currently National Child Protection Week, there is a spotlight on keeping children safe, with many centres joining the cause.
However, a number of Goodstart centres around the country run programs throughout the year aimed at arming children with skills and strategies to keep them safe.
Goodstart Labrador Gordon Street recently received a Queensland Child Protection Week grant and have used it to help educate its children and families about personal safety, including privacy and body safety through a program run by child protection organisation Bravehearts.
The children at both Goodstart Labrador Gordon Street and Goodstart Labrador Olsen Avenue watched the Ditto Keep Safe Adventure Show, which was developed by psychologists, criminologists and child education experts and teaches children about personal safety in a fun, interactive and engaging way.
“We believe child protection is an everyday issue and children should be protected every day and not just during one week of the year,” centre director Karlene Cathchpole said.
Educators across both centres also had access to further resources that would help them to reinforce the lessons from the presentation throughout the year.
Goodstart Doncaster East also runs regular body safety lessons with children in the kindergarten room to help prepare them for school life.
“Before children go to school, it is the perfect time to talk to them and help them learn about body safety and what is and isn’t appropriate,” centre director Eileen Rushton said.
“At this age they are innocent and everything they do is innocent, so they go to the toilet together, they do everything together and think nothing of it,” she said.
“This program teaches them that all of these things are okay but some things are appropriate for school and some things need to stay at home.
“The content is nothing too heavy, it is age appropriate and helps them start to understand a bit about personal safety,” she said.
Run through Body Safety Australia, the Body Safety Superstars education program helps children learn assertive behaviour.
It helps prepare them for school and how to manage being in a new school environment where they will have increased independence.
The program also focusses on appropriate touch and how to say no if something doesn’t feel right.
After the program, the lessons are reinforced and spoken about daily in the Kindergarten room and parents are also educated on the lessons the children have learned.
Goodstart Clayfield is another centre with a focus on child protection- the children are encouraged to talk about safety on a regular basis.
“Talking about their own safety has become part of their everyday language and I think this is good preparation for school and even for when they’re out and about in the community,” centre director Emma Bowles said.
Keeping children safe was Goodstart’s number one priority.
Through a series of new training modules staff were focussed on developing the most up-to-date knowledge, skills and authority to keep our children safe.