The Equality, Responsibility and Friendship (ERF) project

Parent Activity Plan - How do I see you?

In this story ‘How Do I See You?’ we will look at gender inequality. We will explore ideas around what ‘equal’ means and look at some stereotypical attitudes, good and bad, around gender.

Please read through the story for yourself BEFORE reading it with your child.

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Reading the story

Tell your child that you are now going to read the story ‘How do I see you?’.

In the story our characters are faced with a situation that they are uncomfortable with and know isn’t right. The story centres around how one character, Weasel, feels that it is ok to talk to other people in a negative and disrespectful way.

Read the story yourself See a video of the story being read

The key messages from the story are as follows:

  1. To understand how our attitudes shape our behaviours towards people because of their gender.
  2. To raise awareness of gender in equality with children and adults
  3. To ensure children understand that all people, regardless of gender, are equal and deserve the same rights and respect as each other.
  4. To understand when and how to safely challenge gender inequality.
  5. For children to know when they need to involve an adult, or the local Police, with an issue regarding gender inequality.
  6. To promote the idea that children should always tell an adult that they know they can trust, if they are worried or scared.

Have a chat with your child to see if any similar situation has happened to them. Discuss any concerns they may have.

Now, see if you child has understood the key messages of the story, by answering the questions on the powerpoint quiz.

Take the 'How do I see you?' Quiz

Now discuss with your child that we are ALL individuals and therefore have many unique qualities, likes and dislikes, and differences. But we all have some qualities/ similarities and interests that are the same as each other.

Activity 1 - Whilst we are all individuals, with differences and similarities, we are also all EQUAL. But what does equal mean?

Explain to your child:

Sometimes some people have a fixed view or stereotype of other groups of people because of their gender; this has been a problem for a long time, and it is a very old-fashioned view of looking at the world, but it is slowly changing, and we want to help that along even more.

Explain that now you are going to look at some of the old-fashioned views about the types of things that people of different genders might like to do, the jobs they have, the clothes they wear and so on.

Show the Gender roles pictures PDF (page 1).

Discuss with your child:

  • What do they think about the pictures they are looking at now?
  • Are they correct?
  • Do all males and females always follow these roles?
  • Can you think of any examples where the opposite applies?
  • For example, a man who works as a nurse.

Now show your child (page 2) of the. gender roles pictures sheet.

These show the same original images, but alongside the opposite gender carrying these out. Use these images to further emphasise that stereotypical views of women and men are obviously not true!

Talk to your child and explain:

Like most things in life, it comes down to the individual, as to what they can or cannot do and who and what they are – not because of their gender.

Assuming things about men and women, boys and girls, just because of their gender can cause people to be prejudiced (have a ‘bad’ or ‘negative’ view about others) and can lead to something called ‘sexism’ and inequality. We saw this in the story with Weasel when he was making stereotypical and sexist comments to Cat and Chicken because they were girls.

Although sexism can happen both ways, it is much more common for females to experience sexism than men. It is important we understand how damaging and hurtful this type of sexism can be for everyone, especially females.

Ask your child:

What type of sexist views might they have heard about someone because their gender is female? Some examples might be:

  • All girls are no good at football (like Weasel thought in the story)
  • Women should be the ones who do the cooking and cleaning (like Weasel thought in the story)
  • Only women should look after children and babies (like a lot of people still think today!)

Encourage your child to think about why these views might be wrong, based on the earlier definitions of equal and stereotypes. It is important to ensure that any stereotypes are safely challenged as part of your discussion!

Explain to your child:

So after your discussion, you can start to see how there is no reason, that in the modern world that we live in, anyone couldn’t do these roles or try to be whatever they want to be. Although not everyone might agree with this, they are WRONG! We know that we are all equal – just like the animals knew in the story, even Weasel by the end!

Now ask your child to think about the effects that negative and abusive behaviour towards women and girls can have, and discuss some of the consequences they may face.

Explain to your child:

Thinking about how we want our loved ones to be treated, I think we can all agree that this should be positive and respectful. So, with that in mind, we know it is DEFINITELY NOT OK to make comments, or rude remarks, or threaten people, or touch people without their consent.

Just for a minute think about the impact that this can have on people who are on the receiving end of this behaviour – how might it make them feel?

And don’t forget all females will be someone’s Mum, Sister or Daughter – so should be treated with respect and equitability (fairness), not abusively.

Also tell your child:

People who behave like Weasel can also get into trouble with the Police.

Making rude and offensive comments towards others can be a criminal offence. Threatening to touch or hurt other people physically, or even worse actually doing this, is a very serious crime. People who do this would get in serious trouble.

There are lots of negative consequences for everyone involved.

The first thing about feeling safe is...

Talk to your child about this:

You are now going to think and talk about what it means for us to feel safe in our own space. You might remember from the story that Weasel had behaved in a way that might have made Chicken feel a bit scared.

"Well,’ said Weasel. ‘I could still just come over and kiss you as I am bigger and stronger than you, so you would not have a choice."

Of course, Chicken and Cat both told Weasel that what he had said was WRONG! – they were right to do this!

Ask your child:

How do you think Chicken might have felt when Weasel threatened to kiss her, just because he was bigger and stronger than her? Would she have felt safe or unsafe? Why?

Listen to your child’s answer... Reinforce the message that Chicken may have felt threatened, intimidated and unsafe by what Weasel was saying and doing.

Explain this:

There are some important things to know about feeling safe. The first thing to learn is that WE ALL HAVE THE RIGHT TO FEEL SAFE ALL THE TIME.

This means:

WE ALL – You, me, everyone, we are all equal

HAVE THE RIGHT – We have the human right to feel safe and no one can take this away from you. And you have a responsibility

TO ensure that others feel safe too by not doing or saying things that would feel unsafe for them.

FEEL SAFE – you need to work out what feeling safe is like for you ALL THE TIME – you are entitled to feel safe every minute of every day

Activity 2 - What does feeling safe and unsafe feel like?

Show your child the 'Feeling Safe' PDF or if you can, print it off for your child.

Explain to your child:

Now think about what feeling safe and unsafe feels like.

  • What places do you feel safe?
  • How do you feel when you are safe?

Tell your child to fill in their sheet or you can just discuss their thoughts.

Activity 3 - Feeling safe and unsafe in my own space

Stand in front of your child and stretch out your arms to the sides.

Explain to your child:

This is your personal space. When you stretch your arms out wide and turn all the way around, this is the space around you that feels safe and comfortable.

Safely (with enough space around them), ask your child to do this themselves so they can appreciate the physical concept of personal space.

Ask your child:

If this is our safe personal space, how might it feel if someone steps into our personal space without asking?

Discuss some common feelings or Early Warning Signs.

Explain to your child:

If this ever happens to them, our Early Warning Signs will tell us that we don't feel safe or comfortable when someone does this.

If someone is not feeling safe, tell them they can talk with someone they choose to about it, and get help to feel safe again.

REMEMBER: WE CAN TALK WITH SOMEONE ABOUT ANYTHING EVEN IF IT'S AWFUL OR SMALL.

Ask your child:

Who might some of the people be that they could choose to talk? (Take time to discuss this with your child.)

Print out and give your child the Personal Network PDF.

First, ask your child to complete the sentence at the top of the Personal Network PDF.

If someone steps into my personal space without asking me, I feel......

They can add more than one ending if they wish. (Now have a look at the next page)

Explain to your child:

You want them to have a good think about those people who they might choose to talk to about anything.

Next, write the names of the people they choose to be on their ‘Personal Network’ on each finger.

This will be what they will call their ‘Personal Network’ of trusted people they can always go to talk about anything. Ideally, these should be adults not other children.

Finally, you should ensure your child understands the following points about their personal space: When someone comes into their personal space they can:

STOP - when they have Early Warning Signs

FEEL - check out what they are feeling

THINK - what options do they have?

DO...

  • Tell them to get out of their personal space
  • Shout for help if they don’t move
  • Tell someone on their ‘Personal Network’ what happened

Activity 4 - Why do humans need contact? (safe/unsafe touching)

Explain to your child:

We should only invite people into our personal space if we feel safe with them and feel comfortable when they are close to us.

KEEPING CONNECTED WITH OTHERS IS IMPORTANT!

Show your child the Safe Contact PDF

Talk to them about how these are some of the many different ways that we all have contact with others. We can choose how much contact we want with someone to keep us feeling safe.

Ask your child:

Do they know what is meant by safe touching and unsafe touching?

Show the second page of the Safe Contact PDF and run through each example.

Explain to your child:

SAFE TOUCHING – You do not have your early warning signs when you feel safe touching someone or if they are touching you and they are following the ‘rules’. You have a choice about who you invite into your personal space and you both agree this is okay and feels safe for both of you.

And you can change your mind if you don’t feel safe with this person at any time.

UNSAFE TOUCHING - You will have your early warning signs if someone touches you, and you don’t want them to. You did not agree that it was okay for them to touch you. You do not have the right to touch someone else if they don’t want you to.

There are also plenty of laws to also recognise these sorts of rights and to protect you. For example:

Human Rights - these are rights that everyone in the world has, regardless of who you are and where you live. You are born with these rights.

The Equality Act – this is a law that applies to our own country and everyone that lives here. One part of this is that no one has the right to harm you for being a girl or boy or for any other reason. Everyone is equal although we all have different characteristics. This means it is against the law to not treat each other fairly or equally – that is discrimination. An example of this would be how Weasel behaved towards Cat and Chicken just because they were girls.

All of this means that you have the right to feel safe all the time!

We have learnt about the importance of acting and behaving in a fair and responsible way, and how we can behave safely for ourselves and with others.

Do we think that knowing all of this information and having these new skills would make us a good friend or a bad friend?

A good friend, of course – just like Cat was to Chicken, when she needed her the most!

Let’s read a new story...

Parent Activity Plan - How can I make a friend?

Let’s look at another story from the Dog, Duck and Cat Trust called 'How can I make a friend?' which is about the qualities of friendship. We will use this story to further help us about understanding our responsibilities to treat everyone with equitability (fairness), so that children have an understanding around the benefits of positive behaviours; in this case making and maintaining positive relationships and friendships.

Please look through the story for yourself BEFORE reading it with your child.

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Reading the story

Tell your child that you are now going to read the story ‘How can I make a friend?’.

In this story, the animals of Farmyard Primary are talking about the qualities needed to be a good friend.

Read the story yourself See a video of the story being read

The key messages from the story are as follows:

  1. To understand different responsibilities in maintaining a friendship
  2. To understand the importance of trust in a friendship
  3. To be able to develop empathy in a friendship
  4. To explore some of the qualities of being a good friend
  5. To understand some of the boundaries in friendships
  6. To help develop critical decision making for who to trust
  7. To promote that children should always tell an adult they know they can trust, if they are worried or scared

Now see if your child has understood the key messages of the story, by answering the questions on the PowerPoint quiz.

Take the 'How Can I Make a friend?' Quiz

Explain to your child:

Meeting new people and making new friends is a great thing to do. At first, it can sometimes feel a bit tricky or awkward to get talking with new friends, and this is very natural for us to not feel comfortable with people we don’t yet know – this is a good thing while we work out if we like them or feel safe around them.

Ask your child what might be some of the reasons they find it hard to make friends with new children they meet?

Useful suggestions could be:

  • Feel shy
  • Difficult to know how to start a conversation
  • Lack of things in common with each other
  • Just don’t get along with each other for some reason
  • They don’t want to be friends with us
  • Don’t like the look of each other (initial impressions based on pre-conceived ideas of what people will be like based on how they look or who they are e.g. a girl, boy etc.)

Activity 5 - Best ways to make a friend

Talk to your child:

Ask your child and discuss any positive examples of how they made a new friend in the past/recently.

Ask them to think about how this happened, how they behaved and what they said or did. This will help them get an idea of the kind of things that are needed to make a friend.

Now give your child the Best ways to make a friend PDF.

Tell your child:

Now you want them to have a go at writing down their own top three ideas for the best ways to make a friend. These should be their own ideas, and they could be from ways they have used before, or ways that they think might work in the future.

There’s also extra space at the bottom of the worksheet if they want to add in any other tips or useful ideas on how to make a friend.

Well done on completing this Activity!