Kids on the Block and Prevent Child Abuse Tennessee Join Hands

KOB prevents Child Abuse

Kids on the Block joins hands with Prevent Child Abuse Tennessee

Each year, Kids on the Block partners with Prevent Child Abuse Tennessee (PCAT) during  Child Abuse Prevention Month for a community kickoff event to help educate and advocate for child safety. This year, Kids on the Block was honored to host a table of activities alongside several other community organizations advocating child safety.

 

For those parents and educators who were unable to attend the event, we’ve compiled a few helpful tips to remember when teaching your kids about personal safety.

Things to Remember When Teaching Children Personal Safety:

  1. Remind your child they have the power to say “NO!” or “STOP!” if someone is ever doing something to them that creates an uncomfortable feeling. Share examples with your child of how to recognize the “uh-oh” feeling.
  2. Teach your child the difference between “safe secrets” and “unsafe secrets.” Not all secrets are okay to keep. Share examples with your child.  An unsafe secret is not telling your parents when you or someone you know is being hurt or if someone says “Keeps this our little secret or something bad might happen to you” it is important to know that is an unsafe secret. A safe secret would be not telling someone a gift they will be receiving on his or her birthday.
  3. Help your child identify various trusted grown-ups, and encourage them to report any “unsafe secrets” or questions they might have about child abuse. For instance, have them name grown-ups they trust at home, school, and their neighborhood.
  4. Most importantly, tell your children that child abuse is NEVER the fault of the child. Empower them to take ownership of their own bodies, and to openly discuss how to keep themselves safe.

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Andrew Maraniss on Race

The other day I was scanning Twitter and ran across a provocative thread of posts from an attorney, librarian and writer named April Hathcock.

“Ok, friends,” she wrote, “We’re going to stop talking about “diversity & inclusion” when what we’re really talking about is race, racism, and whiteness … We’re going to stop talking about “diversity & inclusion” when what we’re really talking about is queer hate, trans hate, heteronormativity…We’re going to be intentional about the oppression and violence about which we speak. We’re going to be intersectional but also specific … We’ve been using intersectionality as an excuse to use feel good euphemisms. We’re going to stop doing that.”

I was intrigued by April’s reframing of the subject because not only does it appeal to the activists among us, in its specificity it can be used to disarm the cynic who dismisses diversity and inclusion efforts as unnecessary, liberal, PC mumbo jumbo. Let’s get real, April is saying.

In 2014, I published a book called STRONG INSIDE, a biography of Perry Wallace, the first African-American basketball player in the Southeastern Conference. Wallace played at Vanderbilt University in the late 1960s, and as he made history on the basketball courts of the Deep South, Wallace feared for his life. He’d ask himself what’s the worst that could happen, and in his mind, he imagined being shot and killed somewhere like Starkville, Mississippi or Tuscaloosa, Alabama, where he was routinely harassed by fans with threats with lynching or castration. Back on his own campus in Nashville, Wallace was kicked out of a white church, his best friend was addressed by the N-word on his first day of English class.

A few months ago, I converted STRONG INSIDE into a young readers’ edition, aimed at kids 10 and older. With concern over the sensitivities of some readers (or more accurately, their parents), I debated how much of the derogatory language to keep in this condensed version of the book. In the end, I opted to keep all of it. The truly offensive thing, I decided, would be to whitewash history and let the racists off the hook by sanitizing their words, and in so doing minimizing the hostility and discrimination Wallace encountered and so courageously overcame.

So, I appreciate that this isn’t international diversity day. It’s the International Day for the Elimination of Racism and Discrimination. And this year’s theme isn’t “Celebrate (Insert Diverse Name Here) Culture Day.” Rather, the theme is “Racial profiling and incitement to hatred, including in the context of migration.”
This is the kind of real language April Hathcock was calling for. And a reminder that sometimes being careful about the language we use means telling it like it is, not cleaning it up.

About the Author

Andrew Maraniss Headshot Andrew Maraniss is the New York Times-bestselling author of STRONG INSIDE. The original, adult version of the book received the Lillian Smith Book Award for civil rights and the RFK Book Awards’ Special Recognition Prize for social justice. The Young Readers edition has been named one of the Top 10 Biographies for Youth by the American Library Association’s Booklist.

Follow Andrew on Twitter @trublu24, and visit his website at www.andrewmaraniss.com

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Order his book!

Tips to Encourage Your Child To Read

DHH & KOB2

We’re celebrating Read Across America Day with a few tips to encourage your little one to read.

Kids on the Block values the importance of literacy, and works closely with elementary school students to empower them to become great readers. We strongly believe reading can be enjoyable for any child on any level.

Here are some tips from Kids on the Block to help elementary school students become great readers:

Tips to Encourage Your Child To Read

  • Help your kids set reading goals. Reading is different for everyone, so let your child set personal goals to reach. This can be reading one book independently per day, or even working their way up to their first chapter book.
  • Read to and with your kids. Take turns reading portions of a book before bed. Hearing words read aloud is just as significant as having your child read them independently.
  • Let your kids read common items around the house. For instance, have them read recipe instructions when cooking meals, directions when assembling household products, or even sections of the newspaper.
  • Most importantly, remind your kids that reading can be fun! Encourage them to choose books, magazines, and comics they would enjoy. Reading is beneficial no matter what materials are used.

“The more you read,

The more things you will know.

The more that you learn,

The more places you’ll go.” – Dr. Seuss

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How To: Encourage Your Children to Be Kind

KOB RAK

We’re often asked, “How can parents encourage their children to be kind?”

We’ve compiled a few tips to help!

  • Say no to “Sticks and Stones can break my bones, but words can NEVER hurt me.” Discuss to children about the impact words can really have on others, and encourage them to say kind words, words of encouragement and support.
  • Encourage conversations about actions and consequences. Let kids know that positive actions result in positive consequences. Tell them they can make a big impact by using kindness. For example, when one puppet kid is insulted, she responds with a compliment to the bully. This kindness disarms the bully; he cannot respond to her positivity with negativity and more hurtful words.
  • Make a big deal about little acts of kindness. Point out and congratulate even the smallest acts of kindness from your child. Using positive reinforcement can empower your child to spread kindness more often.

Kids on the Block continually encourages young children to be kind through the “Sticks & Stones” presentation. Through puppetry, the students are challenged to create a positive environment in their own school by sharing kindness with one another. Throughout the show the kids learn how everyone is different and how to celebrate those differences instead of teasing others.

After thinking about how it feels to hurt someone’s feelings, Kids on The Block asks each child in the crowd to find three different people and say one nice thing to each. We encourage them find other students or teachers they may not know very well to spread kindness throughout the school.We also would like to take this opportunity to encourage the adults reading this to find three different people to either say something to or do a sweet gesture for.

Helping kids understand differences will also help create empathy and encourage kids to be kind. Check out our kids teaching what diversity means!

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How Can Parents Address Name-Calling?

How Can Parents Address Name-Calling?

Two common questions we’re asked is how are we addressing name-calling and what can parents do to help?

Kids on the Block is addressing the problem of Name Calling with their “Teasing and Name Calling” presentation for kindergarten and first grade students. The students are shown a scenario where the puppet kids are struggling with teasing. As a result, the kids learn a few ways to respond if they ever find themselves being teased.

Most importantly, the students have the chance to interact and empathize with the puppets during the show. Afterwards, the students are encouraged to discuss the consequences and negative feelings caused by name calling. Ultimately, Kids on the Block challenges the students to seek out others and say nice encouraging things to spread positivity around the school.

Tips for Parents and Teachers:

  • Encourage your child to complete the Kids on the Block activity sheet.
  • Work together with your child to come up with new ways to respond to teasing and name calling.
  • Talk with your child about the consequences of teasing versus saying nice things to one another.

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