Week of respect: KiVa-Kick-Off

On Monday the time had finally come: The "Week of respect", the project week for a positive school climate, began at the European School in Munich. It started in the morning with the prelude to KiVa, the anti-bullying programme of the Finnish University of Turku. "What is bullying?", KiVa coordinator Christiaan Dekker asked the pupils of S1. A lot of hands flew up quickly. Then came the much more difficult question: How to deal with bullying properly?

As a school we want to treat each other openly, respectfully and tolerantly "so that we don't become like the monkeys in this picture fighting for their place in the group", explains Mr Dekker. But how exactly can one be civilized? With a video of the German Youtube star Rob Bubble, one will get a feeling for the matter. “Ich war Täter!" – “I was a perpetrator” – is the title of this video in which Rob tells the story of his childhood, when he was first a victim but then teased and threatened a classmate himself. "I was lucky that my parents noticed that," says Rob Bubble today. Because then he finally apologized to his bullying victim and is still friends with him today.

After a brilliant Fli-Fla-Flu tournament, seven tutors introduce themselves. The older ESM students generally help the younger ones to find their way around the school. They are the perfect contacts for bullying issues because some know from their own experience what they are talking about. A tutor tells us that she was bullied herself in the past: "I just want to be there for you so that this doesn't happen to you.”

The tutors also accompany the pupils during the two project days, which each class experiences with a trained KiVa teacher team. There the pupils learn a lot about the causes, mechanisms and also the solutions of bullying. Most people are not themselves affected by bullying, but everyone can and should do something about it.

KiVa is Finnish and means "beautiful" or "nice". It is a social learning program developed by the University of Turku to prevent bullying before the problem arises. The effectiveness of KiVa is scientifically proven. The European School Munich is a KiVa school. It takes the prevention of bullying extremely serious - that's why certified KiVa trainers work here, who conduct training courses for teachers several times a year. The programme was first introduced in primary school in 2015. Due to the great success, the secondary school now also starts with KiVa. Parents who have questions on the subject of bullying can turn to the educational counsellors and our school psychologist with confidence.

Teachers can also report on violence and harassment. Mr Bettini, for example. When he talks on stage about how he was threatened as a child, everyone listens spellbound. Mr Bettini tells how much it helped him to learn karate. Not to be able to beat up his attackers, but to become more self-confident. "This is how a victim walks," he says and makes himself small (see photo). Those who, on the other hand, show self-assurance and confidence are often not attacked at all, because the perpetrators consciously look for weaker victims. Violence and mobbing have no chance with Mr. Bettini. "We must not accept such rubbish!", he calls from the stage and receives thunderous applause for it.

Music from talented students completes the KiVa Kick-Off. But this is not the end of the topic of respect: for the whole project week there will be lectures on the topics of respect, inclusion and tolerance. And teachers and students are still committed to combating bullying, even after the "Week of respect" is long over. In addition to the project days, the KiVa programme is also continued in class with specially trained religious and moral teachers. In summer there will be another project day.

Further weblinks: