It’s been such an exciting week of seasonal celebrations here at Park Maitland! From our annual Halloween Pumpkin Decorating Contest… to the K-4/K-5 Carnival and Parade… to our 1st and 6th grade “Jelly Fudge Friends” celebration in the park… it was a week of collaborative fun, creativity, and community spirit! We had over 100 pumpkin entries this year; the highest number ever! Halloween is an especially enjoyable holiday for children and adults alike! (I’m sure that you saw Mrs. Moon Ghost and friends along with the Ghostbusters around campus, too!) It’s a time to be out in the community trick or treating and showing off our costumes and meeting and interacting with others. It’s also an important time to remind our children about “stranger danger.”
We spend a lot of time teaching our children to be confident and kind to others at school and in the community. Yet, stranger safety is also a focus. We know that our students, for the most part, can communicate articulately with people they meet in most situations. However, it is important that they learn how to stay safe, be smart, and protect themselves from strangers. The single most important thing to remember when teaching children about stranger danger is to instill confidence, rather than fear. You want to equip children with the knowledge and strategies they will need to protect themselves in dangerous situations. Also, keep your own child’s age and maturity level in mind and base lessons upon that.
One suggestion that can be taught to children of all ages is to become “Password Smart.” This idea was proposed by Kidsmart, an online safety advice site provided by a northern school system. It teaches a simple strategy that can be used by any child if they are approached by someone that they do not know. Example: A stranger approached an 8 year old boy and asked him to come with him. The stranger told the boy that something had happened, and his mom had sent him to pick up her son. The boy asked the stranger for the PASSWORD and used the man’s confusion to run away. He and his mother had agreed to a password in case she had to send someone to pick him up. Perhaps this saved the boy’s life.
Stranger danger lessons should be ongoing — adapt the conversation as your child grows as he/she is likely to encounter different types of situations. As always, take the time to sit down and listen to your child and understand his/her fears and or concerns. This is an important step in helping your child gain the confidence to have these open discussions and to make the right decisions.
Warm wishes to all,
Mrs. Cindy Moon
Head of School