Relate, Respect, Connect is an innovative Life Education program which empowers students with skills and strategies to help them develop safe and respectful relationships both face to face and online.
And the messages around being a good online citizen have never been more important – with Australia’s eSafety commissioner reporting a 21 per cent rise in youth cyber-bullying since the COVID-19 pandemic began and an 86 per cent spike in image-based abuse and sexting, with children and teenagers spending more time online during isolation.
Relate, Respect, Connect teaches children how to make good friends, deal with bullying issues, develop self-respect and respond to unsafe situations.
Recently, our Gladstone educator Ellen delivered the program when the Life Education mobile learning centre visited Gladstone South State School, and the Years 5 and 6 students enthusiastically embraced the messages.
The Life Education visit was covered in The Gladstone Observer.
Ellen said the session focused on promoting positive peer relationships and included practical advice such as how to respond to disrespectful behaviour, when to seek help and how to deal with harmful cyber messages.
“I teach the children to put themselves in others’ shoes and ask themselves, ‘How would I feel if someone was treating me this way?’” Ellen says.
“The program also teaches children the importance of staying calm and taking the time to think before responding to online trolling and ways to avoid escalating a conflict.”
With face-to-face delivery of the Life Education program currently on hold, during COVID-19, Relate, Respect, Connect is one of several key lessons now available online via our exciting new learning platform Life Education @ Home.
Life Education Queensland CEO Michael Fawsitt said helping children to build and maintain positive, respectful relationships during their school years was important for their wellbeing and development and helped young people prepare for relationships later in life.
“Preventative health education is core to the Life Education program, and when it comes to bullying, educating young people about responsible and respectful behaviour, as well as strategies to deal with bullying, is crucial,” Mr Fawsitt said.
“School yard bullying and cyberbullying is a growing concern, but research shows that engaging young people to be positive role models, teaching them how to manage disagreement and the importance of empathy, goes a long way towards reducing the incidence of bullying.”