Pupils at the kindergarten through third-grade levels at the Montessori Academy, 2750 Weaver Road, Lancaster, have been learning about bullying.
On Nov. 6, the school partnered with the Junior League of Lancaster to present a humorous and informative assembled called Box Out Bullying.
The program centers around a magic trunk that Tom, portrayed by Jeremy Phillips, was convinced could help him understand and eliminate bullying.
“There are six million kids in America who have been bullied and most of them don’t tell anyone,” he told the children.
“You need to talk with someone if you want to make things better,” said actor John Patalano, who donned simple costume pieces and props to play a number of characters, including Tom’s Uncle Jerry.
According to school director Karen Rubenstein, teachers discussed various aspects of bullying with the students to prepare them for the event. Not surprisingly, the youngest children hadn’t yet grasped the concept, despite the fact that peer pressure and harassment can begin at an early age.
Phillips and Patalano discussed behavioral traits of someone who bullies. They also gave ways for students to feel empowered to help someone who is being bullied.
Several students, including Hanna Citsay, and staff members, including Pamm Klingensmith, were invited to the front of the room to take part in several interactive games and contests that addressed other aspects of peer pressure, including an explanation of empathy.
Rubenstein related that the students did some role-playing exercises to follow up the assembly and further discussed the importance of empathy. She notes that the children enjoyed the audience participation aspects of the show as well as the comedy. At Montessori Academy, the students were taught to use a “peace Table” or a “peace lily” to talk to a student with whom they are having a conflict.
By Rick Hiduk,
Education Reporter, The Merchandiser Newspaper.