An important presentation was made to students of Ecole Mother Teresa on November 22 and 23.
No Secrets, a program developed by the Central Alberta Sexual Assault Centre and presented by Elementary Educator Diane Huston, provides elementary students with critical knowledge on how to understand and protect their own bodies.
“On day one we talk about safe touching and unsafe touching and then we talk about the private areas of our bodies,” Huston said. “I give the kids the correct words to use because they all have fluffy names for them because they don’t know the correct one. Then we talk about how they are never to keep it a secret if some one touches them inappropriately. I want them to take away that it is not their fault and they need to tell people and keep telling.”
On the second day, Huston provides students information on who they can safely talk to, answers their anonymous questions and provides them with the no-go-tell rule, which means they have the right to say no, that they should go and get away and then tell a trusted adult about what happened.
The program is about sexual abuse; however, Huston does not use that specific phrase in the classrooms so as to not scare the students. The class is taken with full parental consent that Huston provides through an introductory handout and a permission form. The presentation is about safety education and not sexual education.
This class is important because 48 per cent of therapist patients are children under the age of 18 years old.
“Kids will often think it’s a boogeyman or someone creepy but I let them know that 90 percent of the time it is someone you know,” Huston said. “I reassure them that most people are decent and kind, however if someone does trick you with tickling or playing doctor and it leads to that – you have the right to use your words and no one has the right to touch you like that.”
Huston has been in her position since 2013 and has seen marked growth in the program – schools recognize the value of students having knowledge on how to protect themselves. The program has grown organically according to Huston.
“Mostly from word of mouth – once a school realizes it’s age appropriate they have me back every year,” Huston said. “I presented to 1,500 students in October throughout Central Alberta.”
If you have any questions about the program, would like to have it in your school or require Sexual Assault Centre Services – you can contact the Central Alberta Sexual Assault Centre at 403 340 1124.