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Ten-One Community Edition August 05

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Working with the community

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Kids encouraged to do the 'right thing'

Constable Mike Clague with students

Doing the Right Thing is a new national Police Youth Education Service (YES) programme designed to promote positive values to help children become responsible New Zealanders who respect others and the law...

The idea for the programme originated in Counties/Manukau, where police education officers noticed that many young people were no longer taught basic values, such as knowing right from wrong and the importance of being honest.

"Too often staff report knowledge of basic values in society is missing along with consequences of actions," says Senior Sergeant Mike Fulcher, Community Services Manager, Counties/Manukau District. "Remorse as a result of minor youth offending and at family group conferences is usually because of someone else pointing out the flow-on effects of offending to the victims and the community," says Mike.

The Police Education Officers (PEO) and local teachers worked with the YES National Office curriculum officer, Gill Palmer, to turn their ideas into classroom activities.

The teaching programme is divided into five themes: honesty; respect; rules and laws; consequences; right and wrong. Within each theme there are lessons for junior, middle and senior primary classes.

"The idea is to provide a menu of lessons so that a teacher and PEO can choose lessons to meet the needs of a particular class. For example, if a teacher finds that students are being disrespectful of themselves, others or property then she or he can choose lessons from the Respect theme," says Gill.

The programme uses a mix of resources, such as stories, proverbs, fairy tales, picture stories, and music/song to illustrate the various themes and messages.

The New Zealand short film Golden Dolphins produced by Salveson productions is an important resource in the Honesty module at Year 7-8 level.

"It shows real New Zealand children facing everyday conflicts and challenges they experience in their day-to-day social interactions with other people," says Gill.

Producer Leah Salveson worked closely with police to ensure the film would replicate messages in Doing the Right Thing.

"The film delivers some important messages to its viewers, in particular 'what goes around comes around'– tell a lie and sooner or later you will get found out," says Gill.

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