Information for parents

Police support a range of education programmes and services to schools free of charge. The programmes are all designed to help children and young people lead happy and safe lives. They cover the following five themes:

The Ministry of Education's Parent Portal also provides parents and carers with practical information about education.

How are these programmes provided?

A School Community Officer (formerly known as a Police Education Officer) works with the school to identify issues and needs and plan programmes and services to suit. If you are aware of any issues that you feel need to be addressed, ask your child's teacher or school principal.

The programmes are planned and delivered by a classroom teacher and, if necessary, supported by the School Community Officer.

Police recommend a whole-school approach for all these education programmes, as described in the intervention planning tool (PDF, 321KB). In the whole-school approach, parents and whānau contribute to and support the programme.

Ways in which parents and whānau can contribute include:

  • helping the school decide what programmes need to be taught
  • reinforcing at home the messages that the school is giving (for example, about bullying and crossing the road)
  • taking part in some classroom lessons
  • helping with homework activities
  • attending and promoting school–parent meetings and partnerships
  • contributing to the development of school policies and procedures
  • being a resource person
  • being a good role model for children and young people (for example, always wearing a safety belt, not misusing alcohol)
  • taking part in evaluation of learning.

The programmes

Successful relationships

Police aim to assist children and young people develop and sustain successful relationships through three violence prevention programmes:

  • Kia Kaha enables students, parents, caregivers and teachers to recognise that bullying is unacceptable in both the school and the wider community. They will develop strategies to stop bullying and replace it with acceptable behaviour. Here is some specific information for parents related to Kia Kaha.
  • Keeping Ourselves Safe is a positive personal safety (child protection) programme that aims to provide children and young people with the skills to cope with situations that might involve abuse. It will help them keep themselves safe in their interactions with other people. Here is some specific information for parents related to Keeping Ourselves Safe.
  • Loves-Me-Not is a healthy relationship programme in which senior secondary school students learn about relationships and the sometimes difficult subjects of relationship abuse and consent. Here is an FAQ (PDF, 376KB) about Loves-Me-Not that includes information for parents. 

Travelling safely

As a parent you have a very important role in practising and reinforcing road safety skills, whether it is walking, cycling, driving, or as a passenger.

Children are vulnerable road users. Every year children are killed and injured on the road, as passengers, pedestrians, cyclists, drivers and other road users.

Children are at risk on or near the roads because they:

  • do not see and hear things in the same way that adults do
  • have undeveloped eyesight, especially peripheral vision
  • are easily distracted by noises and such things as animals
  • are short and can't see over or round things easily
  • can't judge safe distances and so make poor decisions about crossing the road
  • may forget road rules if something unexpected happens, such as a ball bouncing on the road.

Young people are at risk because of hormonal changes, peer pressure, access to high-powered vehicles and insufficient experience when operating a vehicle on roads.

Here is more specific information for parents about Travelling Safely.

Responsible citizens

Police believe that children and young people should grow up with a sense of what is right and wrong. They should be able to take their place as responsible adults, concerned about the safety of people and their property.

In our programmes students learn strategies to help keep their own and others' property safe and so reduce the risk of crime. The programmes also help children clarify and develop their own values, which in turn leads to a change of behaviour.

The following information for schools and their communities includes specific advice on how parents and caregivers can be involved:

Practical things you can do as a parent to encourage social responsibility

To help your child protect their own and others’ property you can teach them to:

  • put things back in the right place
  • always ask if they can borrow something and return it promptly with thanks
  • treat possessions with care
  • think about how they would feel if one of their possessions was damaged or taken
  • follow your example of looking after property well
  • lock up possessions like bikes.

To prevent your child stealing:

  • explain that stealing is wrong
  • expect and show honesty
  • help children to recognise and overcome the temptation to steal
  • talk about how we feel when someone steals our possessions
  • show them sensible alternatives to stealing to get the things that they need or want
  • help them to sort out what things they can't have
  • ask Police to run a parents' discussion meeting on stealing, at your local school.

If your child steals:

  • keep calm and talk it through together
  • decide on the consequences as a family
  • help them to return stolen goods and to apologise to the owner.

To prevent your child vandalising property:

  • teach children to take care of their property from an early age
  • show children how carefully you look after your own property
  • talk about what vandalism is and how it spoils the environment
  • explain that all property belongs to someone
  • talk about how people feel when their things are damaged and destroyed
  • help children to find positive ways to use their leisure time
  • give them skills to resist pressure from their peers.

If your child vandalises:

  • keep calm and talk it through together
  • decide on the consequences as a family
  • go with your child to apologise to the owner of the property
  • help them right the damage.

Healthy body, healthy mind (dealing with harmful substances)

These programmes are designed to help children and young people avoid illegal drugs, make sensible choices about their use of legal drugs and seek support when needed.

This information on preparing for a drug education programme includes specific advice on how parents and caregivers can be involved.

Living in a safe community

This programme shows the various ways Police help to keep people safe and how children make contact with Police when they need help.

For more information, see the theme Living in a safe community.