How can I support WITS at home and at my child’s school?
The community-based approach is what sets the WITS Programs apart. The programs reach beyond schools and classrooms, uniting community leaders, educators and parents to protect young children from peer victimization. As such, parents can play a critical role in the WITS Programs by supporting them at home and at school.
A Closer Look: Supporting WITS
Watch this video for more information about why families are an important part of the WITS Programs. Next, explore the ideas below to learn how to effectively support the programs at home and at school:
WITS at Home
When children see WITS strategies in use outside the school, they begin to understand how they can use their WITS in a variety of situations. Promote the use of WITS and LEADerS at home by:
- Adopting the language: Use the WITS and LEADerS acronyms when helping your children solve conflicts and when dealing with your own conflicts. Use the language when watching TV shows or movies to talk about how the characters handle conflict.
- Talking about WITS reminder gifts: Students at WITS Programs schools receive gifts, such as bookmarks, pens, pencils and posters, from community leaders who visit their classrooms. When your children bring home WITS reminder gifts, ask them about it. Who gave them the gift? What did this visitor talk about? If the gift is something like a poster, display it on the fridge to serve as a visual reminder of the WITS Programs.
- Reading WITS books with your children: Teachers at WITS Programs schools use books from the programs’ book lists to reinforce WITS and LEADerS messages. Read one of these books with your child to reinforce the messages he or she hears at school and provide more opportunities to talk about experiences with peer conflict and victimization.
- Offering positive reinforcement when children use their WITS: When you observe your children successfully applying a WITS or LEADerS strategy, praise them for their efforts. Ask them how they decided which strategy to use and how well they feel the strategy worked.
WITS at School
Getting involved in your child’s school community is another way to effectively support the WITS Programs. Coordinate with your school’s home and school federation or parent advisory council to promote the WITS Programs at school by:
- Meeting with new parents: Host an information meeting at the beginning of the school year to introduce new parents to the WITS Programs, how they are used at the school and ways to support them at home. Share information about the free online resources available on the WITS website in the WITS for Families and WITS for Kids sections.
- Volunteering to help with the Swearing-In Ceremony and Tug-of-Help: These assemblies, led by community leaders in cooperation with school teachers and administrators, kick off the WITS Programs at the beginning of every school year. Having parents attend reinforces the WITS Programs’ community-based approach. Work with school administrative staff to find ways you can help with these events.
- Arranging classroom visits from parents: Work with school staff to arrange periodic classroom visits where parents can stop in and read a WITS book to the class. Using questions and activities from the accompanying lesson plans will reinforce the programs while helping to meet curricular requirements..
Introducing WITS to Your Child’s School
If your child’s school is not yet using the WITS Programs, arrange a meeting with the principal to introduce the programs and the free resources available on the WITS for Schools section of the website.
Bring a copy of Implementing the WITS Programs: A Step-by-Step Guide for Schools in order to show the principal exactly what is required to get the program off the ground.
You can also request a WITS Sample Pack, containing examples of WITS resources, in advance of the meeting by contacting us at firstname.lastname@example.org.