16th - 20th November
For Early Years professionals, promoting kindness and respecting others to our children is a key part of our day-to-day work. The thought of children being bullied, or becoming bullies, is upsetting. That is why Anti-Bullying Week can be a positive tool in tackling future bullying by spreading positivity and celebrating each child’s uniqueness. Rather than focussing on bullies, it is an opportunity to explore developing kind behaviour.
A popular way to celebrate Anti-Bullying Week is by hosting an Odd Socks Day. As much as we love a good fancy dress day, some parents aren’t the biggest fans of them. They can be expensive, young children can change day-to-day and lose interest quickly in their costume, and many parents are too pushed for time when preparing their children for nursery in the morning. Odd Socks Day doesn’t financially embarrass any of the children, and is much more manageable for parents on the school run or on their way to work. Additionally, there are probably multiple odd socks stuffed in your Nursery’s Spare Clothes box, so you can always provide a pair to children that forget... (there’s always one!)
Odd Socks Day is all about realising that it’s good to be different. To reinforce the idea that the socks each child is wearing are ‘odd’, begin by showing the children pairs of socks that do match. You could place a heap of socks on the ground and go looking for pairs. Once you’ve found a pair of socks, show it to children explaining how you can tell that two socks are a pair “because they are the same”. Children can have a go at finding pairs themselves too. (Psstt.. How about plugging in some fine-motor development here and getting children to peg pairs of socks together?!)
Then... the grand reveal! Allow the children to take off their shoes and observe their own socks. They should now be able to identify that they are wearing an “odd” pair of socks because they are different, but... it’s fun to be different, and that’s what makes us extra ordinary!
Explain that we all have differences. If possible, describe the differences between yourself and another adult in the class, but emphasise that you both treat each other with respect, despite being different, because that’s the right thing to do. It is so important to model the behaviour you want children to emulate as they really do pick up on what they see and hear. Each child comes from a different home with different beliefs so it’s your duty to ensure that children at your setting gain an appreciation for others’ differences.
Then, celebrate the children’s differences. To encourage self-reflection, ask the children how they would feel if nobody played with them because they were different. Encourage the children to spread kindness and look after one another. Throughout this week, ask the children to think of something kind to say about a given child. An adult can transcribe their thoughts and these can be shared on the last day. (Children that are ready can attempt to write their name on the kindness letter too for a more personal touch!) Remind them that they are all extra-odd-inary because of their differences!