8 – 9 April 2019

Sonya Carey

Tackling Bullying Head On: Newfield Park School's Experiences with Kiva - the anti-bullying programme from Finland

Imagine our shock when our children told us in 2017 that 30% of them had been bullied two or more times in the last couple of months at school. Whānau, board of trustees, staff and children all wanted that to change. We did not want a 'flash in the pan' intervention but something that had a proven pedigree over time for improving wellbeing outcomes for children being bullied. After some research, we came across the KiVa programme which several schools had introduced in the last 3 years in New Zealand with the support of license holders Victoria University. Kiva, which means 'kindness' or 'nice' in Finnish, is a bullying prevention programme developed at the University of Turku in Finland and is now established in many schools around the world. Created after decades of research into bullying, bullying mechanisms and the role of bystanders, KiVa was rigorously trialled and evaluated before implementation, and since 2009 the proportion of students bullying others have been halved in KiVa schools. Essentially it is a whole school approach with three main components - prevention through classroom lessons, intervention through a process that deals with bullying incidents and ongoing monitoring. These three components, together with teacher training form the framework for success. We are in our second year of implementation. During the presentation, we will talk about the impact this has had on the bullying at our school, the children's abilities to be defenders, and staff confidence at preventing and intervening in bullying behaviour. We will make links to national research data being collected about the impact of KiVa in New Zealand and internationally. We need to understand that we have a violence, abuse, and bullying problem in New Zealand. We have some of the worst levels of violence, abuse and bullying in the developed world. It is time to tackle it head on.

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