The Safe and Caring Program was introduced to Saint Anthony School through the program’s founder, Dr. Katia Peterson, who emphasized the importance of the social and emotional education of children as an important part of their complete education. The skills and themes set forth in her curriculum align to the Catholic values that we impart on all of our students.
Dr. Peterson’s research showed that students who learn how to handle their feelings through critical thinking and effective communication make significant gains academically. Furthermore, in children’s technology-enriched lives, emotional and social skills have become even more important. Dr. Peterson provided an in-service for the teachers and spent time in all classes speaking with the students. She encouraged the students to be “Student Ambassadors for Peace” and helped them to understand that school should be a safe place where kids can be themselves.
Since the implementation of The Safe and Caring Program, there has been a feeling of an improved school climate, motivation, clearer expectations and consistency, as well as more efforts to stop bullying behaviors.
Saint Anthony School personalized the program through the creation school “families”, made up of students from each grade level, with Eighth Graders serving as the family leaders (parents, in a sense) who are responsible for managing the group. (The Eighth graders attend a three-day leadership camp to help prepare for this responsibility). With a faculty member overlooking the process, activities are conducted on special days to build school camaraderie and spirit, support a service project for others in need, and to have fun. The student-led activities allow the students to utilize their 21st Century Learning Skills focusing on the 5 Cs: Catholicity, Creativity, Collaboration, Critical Thinking, and Communication.
Some past projects include:
- A non-perishable food drive for families on Moloka’i . The food was packed into family boxes and included a student drawn card with art focused on Moloka’i and St. Damien by the students.
- Students removed over 25 lbs. of micro-plastics from the Kailua beach area fronting the school. They used the plastic to create a recyclable art project collage of the SAS Warrior!
- The student families each made felt blankets for children at Kapiolani Women and Children’s Hospital. The blanket materials were tied into knots representing the get well wishes of the children. Over 16 blankets were made and presented to the hospital by the Student Council.
- A car wash was held and “families” washed cars of faculty and parents who regularly volunteered at the school.
- Each family used recycled products to make Christmas ornaments and then attached them to wreaths for homebound parishioners.
- Families had the opportunity to participate in fun, healthy activities involving sports and dancing together.
- An SAS Faculty member wrote Safe and Caring jingles, based on the monthly themes, and presented them to the school at the beginning of each week/month. This was a way to spark creativity, and fun, and a good way to help students remember the themes.
- School Families were assigned a name of a sea animal, both the English and Hawaiian name, and were given special nametags to decorate. This was to help foster a sense of unity, as well as deepen an appreciation for the uniqueness of our island home and culture.
- The school participated in a month-long Safe and Caring Family Fitness Challenge, in which each of the school “families” received a form for them to indicate completion of physical activity, as well as healthy food choices. Winners received healthy treats, and it fostered a sense of unity, teamwork, and helping each other in making healthy food and lifestyle choices.
The Safe and Caring Program is thriving at our school, through weekly Safe and Caring messages presented at assemblies and Masses, as well as various classroom and school wide activities. The themes and character education curriculum utilized in this program supports the values put forth in Catholic education, as we prepare our students for success not only academically, but socially, emotionally, and faithfully.