Two family school wellness workers at Fox Run School are approaching the subject of bullying a little differently this year. Megan Helmer and Dee Peterson are teaching a new program called “U Rock” to a group of grade seven students who will then teach the program to grade six students at Beacon Hill, C.P. Blakely and Steffie Woima in a few weeks.
The principles of “U Rock” developed out of another program called “Beyond the Hurt” that addresses the issue of bullying for grade six students and is intended to ease the student’s transition to middle school.
Helmer explained students already know what bullying is and how it affects children. She wanted to make a program that would go one step further and teach students about empathy, kindness and compassion and how they can develop these qualities and demonstrate them to their peers.
“U Rock” is an acronym for the principles taught in the course. The R stands for “respect,” an important quality for building healthy relationships. The O stands for “opportunity,” reminding students that everyone has the opportunity to show respect, empathy and kindness. The C is for “compassion,” and the K stands for “kindness,” both key qualities for interacting with others.
Helmer is passionate about peer teaching and finds it helps students form better connections with each other. She explained that when the grade seven students teach the younger grades it helps with the transition of grade six students into Fox Run because they now have a familiar face in a new setting.
“I feel passionate about teaching self-awareness and awareness of others and that comes from knowing the basics of kindness and respect,” said Helmer, adding that she is also passionate about “U Rock” because it gives students the chance to be positive role models to their peers.
Helmer and Peterson both shared they have noticed when younger students are taught the “U Rock” principles by their older peers, they are more likely to internalize what they’ve learned and apply what they’ve learned in future scenarios.
The group of student teachers will be sharing what they learn with the grade six classes in Beacon Hill on Feb. 27, C.P Blakely on Mar. 2, and Steffie Woima on Mar. 12.
FOX RUN NEWS REPORTER