A bullying and peer victimization prevention program for young children: The WITS Primary Program

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The WITS Primary Program was developed in Victoria, BC, Canada, to teach children in Kindergarten to Grade 3 strategies for managing peer conflict in safe and positive ways, using the language of the WITS acronym – Walk away, Ignore, Talk it out, and Seek help. Resources for this program are freely accessible on their website, and include lesson plans, activities and book titles that can be easily integrated into daily practice. The aim of this program is to create safe, responsive learning environments for young children, As such, the program is designed for educators, but also includes resources for families, community leaders, and schools administrators. This program is literature-based, and the WITS website is a valuable resource of lists of children’s books with SEL messages.

Research shows that students in schools with well-established WITS programs identify and report more victimization incidents, and are reported (by teachers) to show higher levels of social responsibility than students in control schools. There is also evidence of decline in physical and relational violence within classrooms that use the WITS programs.  Furthermore, WITS Primary Program is recognized by the Canadian Best Practices Portal as a “best practice” program.

An extension of the WITS program for older elementary students is also available, entitled the WITS LEADS program.