The International Institute of Lancy (IIL) has become the first school in Switzerland to implement the Finish anti-bullying program: KIVA. On top of being an excellent school, with a great educational program, sports and cultural activities, they are also attributing to creating a more peaceful society of the future.
Bullying is present in all schools, no matter if they are public or private. It takes on many forms, from the most visible physical bullying through verbal bullying and exclusion. They are all equally hurtful and can leave scars for life.
It is estimated that in Switzerland, over 10% of children are subject to bullying. As not all kids report it to parents or teachers, this number can be higher.
In many schools, children who experience bullying very often report the insensitivity of the teachers. They feel misunderstood; their problem is minimised. Also, parents of bullied children are sometimes frustrated with the teacher’s lack of proper (or any) response. Often, this reaction is not meant to harm anyone. Not every teacher has the tools to handle these cases properly.
As the Irish Edmund Burke once said: “it would seem that the only thing that allows bullying to flourish in schools is inaction”.
THE SOLUTION AT IIL
Institut International de Lancy has chosen to address bullying as a holistic issue, from prevention to intervention. Instead of hiding the problem, or place temporary bandaids here and there, they wanted to truly help children learn the skills required to tackle this issue. After 18 months of searching for different solutions, they chose KiVa – an anti-bullying program developed at the University of Turku (Finland).
KIVA was developed at Turku University in Finland in 2009. Since then, it has been scientifically proven to reducing bullying in Finish schools by 80%. It has been implemented in schools across the country for the benefit of entire communities. The program starts with the school’s staff (not only the teachers) training. Once everybody knows what to do, children start regular classes about empathy, tolerance, respect for differences, and kindness.
KIVA also includes the silent witnesses to the bullying equation: the ones who participate indirectly. Through lessons, video games and debates, schoolchildren aged 7 and over are invited to detect the different forms of bullying and not to support, actively or passively, this type of behaviour.
These measures are reinforced by instructions to teachers, supervision during recess and support in group work. Finally, the IIL KiVa coordinator is responsible for documenting all reported cases and assigning members of the KiVa team to start an intervention process. As a result of these measures, bullying has decreased by 80% in Finnish schools.
THE ONLY ONE
IIL is the only school in Switzerland to join the KIVA program. I truly hope more schools, including public ones, will follow. But until that happens, let’s applaud IIL! Through blogging, I’ve spoken to many parents of bullied children. I talked to many who switched to homeschooling because of abuse. Knowing now that there is one private school implementing an anti-bullying program that works makes me hopeful!
Curious about the International Institut de Lancy? They’re about to have their virtual tours (instead of a traditional open day – you know why). You can find out all about it here: