When planning and programming for effective child protection and respectful relationships education programs:
- review the content of sensitive or controversial material to ensure it is appropriate to the development, experiences and cultural values of their students
- allow for progressive learning that is reinforced over the school years
- deliver this sensitive content at a time in the school year when respect and trust has been developed between students and with the teacher. If the unit includes content regarding abuse and signs of abuse, it is advised this content is not taught in mid to late term 4. If the delivery of this content resulted in a student disclosure, teaching it late in the year prevents adequate follow-up
- integrate content within the related content areas of PDHPE rather than teach in isolation
- select activities, teaching and learning strategies and resources that best meet the needs of your students and match your school’s PDHPE program.
Key questions to focus the process of programming include:
- What is it that the students currently know and can do?
- What do students need to know and be able to do?
- How will students learn this?
- How will students demonstrate their learning?
Child protection education
Balanced child protection education involves teaching and learning about three themes:
- Recognising abuse which focuses on identifying signs of abuse, warning signals, types of abuse, appropriate and inappropriate touch.
- Power in relationships which focuses on rights, responsibilities and roles in relationships and the characteristics and skills required to build and maintain equal and respectful relationships.
- Protective strategies which focuses on building students’ capacity to plan and act in practical ways to keep themselves safe. It also build skills in identify trusted sources of support and accessing help when required.
Although child protection education must be included in each stage of your PDHPE program, not all themes need to be taught in each year or stage.
Themes do not need to be addressed in any particular order or as separate entities. How each theme is approached will depend on what students already know and can do, and how the school PDHPE program is constructed.
Schools which do not incorporate child protection education into each year’s PDHPE program need to consider ways to build on and reinforce prior learning. There should not be a gap of more than one year between child protection education in a stage-based PDHPE curriculum scope and sequence or programs.
Respectful relationships education
Respectful relationships and violence prevention should:
- be integrated into units that cover real-life situations and not taught in isolation
- aim to change individual attitudes, behaviours, and social and sexual relations
- challenge the community norms and conditions that perpetuate exclusion, abuse and violence, including peer, family and community attitudes and gender expectations.
When developing programs relating to respectful relationships, consider that:
- students need to hear consistent messages about respectful relationships in a variety of contexts and units
- one-off lessons do not allow students to develop the knowledge, understanding and skills needed to transfer into everyday settings
- good-practice programs include activities focused on skills development such as conflict resolution, negotiation and interpersonal skills in order to empower students to negotiate personal relationships
- programs are more effective if they involve interactive and participatory learning approaches
- delivery should include modelling as an influence and supportive interactions, such as group work, cooperative learning, discussions, role plays and behaviour rehearsal.