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Wear your odd socks with pride during Anti-Bullying Week

Anti-Bullying Week is celebrated in nearly three quarters of schools, but early years settings can get involved too by holding an Odd Socks Day, the perfect way to introduce younger children to the issue of bullying by celebrating what makes us all unique.

Imagine the scene. I’m ushered into the offices of Universal Records in West London; home to artists like Take That, Florence + The Machine, The Weeknd, and the Killers. My palms are sweating. I’m here to meet with the label’s latest signing and (in the eyes of under 10s) one of the biggest celebrities to step behind a microphone. I am on strict instructions from my nephews and nieces not to leave the building without a selfie. I’m led into a plush meeting room on the top floor and there he is... Andy Day, mega-star of children’s television hits like Andy’s Dinosaur Adventures, who is now making a foray into the world of pop music with his band Andy and the Odd Socks.

I needn’t have worried. Andy, as expected if you’ve ever seen him bounding about on TV with his infectious grin, is a thoroughly nice guy. And his band is all about celebrating what makes us unique and different – a message we all need to do more to promote. By the end of the meeting Andy has agreed to be a patron of Anti-Bullying Week 2017, and what’s more will be encouraging children to wear odd socks to their school or nursery during Anti-Bullying Week and show we are ‘All Different, All Equal’.

Having Andy behind Anti-Bullying Week is the latest milestone in a campaign that has gone from strength to strength since it started in 2002. We expect nearly three-quarters of schools will celebrate Anti-Bullying Week in one way or another between 13th and 17th of November 2017. But the campaign isn’t just for school age children.

Bullying behaviour can be displayed by children as young as 3 years old. Children have a right to play in a safe and supportive environment. If you're a childminder or nursery provider, it's important to know how to tackle bullying in early years settings.

For a start, having a clear definition of bullying in mind will help you spot it early. Ask yourself is a child’s behaviour: hurtful, intentional, repetitive and does it involve a power imbalance? 

This is very important. This will help you when assessing the difference between ‘relational conflict’ – where there is a ‘falling out’ between individuals – and when it tips the balance to bullying.

The second important thing to remember is that bullying is not just a ‘rite of passage’. It is well researched that bullying can cause long term damage to both the person on the receiving end, and those who bully. Challenging bullying behaviour in the early years gives you a great opportunity to nip it in the bud.

We also encourage early years staff to be careful not to label a child as a bully. This unhelpful and suggests that bullying is something you are rather than a behaviour choice you can change. Instead, talk about ‘bullying behaviour’.

In fact, we’ve produced a factsheet to help early years staff take some positive steps to addressing the types of behaviours that can result in bullying. It is free to download here.

A good way to start your children thinking about difference and being kind to others is to get behind Anti-Bullying Week and get the children to wear odd socks to nursery. You could also use this as a fundraising opportunity for your favourite anti-bullying charity.

And remember, please share your images of your #OddSockDay during #AntiBullyingWeek. If you tag us (@ABAonline on Twitter, or Anti-Bullying Alliance on Facebook / or AntiBullyingAlliance on Instagram) we’ll share them with our followers and friends. You can see some resources about how to use the idea in your setting here.

It’s never too early to start talking about acceptance of others, and the differences that make each of us unique, and we look forward to see how early years providers are interpreting the Anti-Bullying Week message of ‘All Different’ All Equal’. You won’t have trouble getting the children interested now Andy is involved. 

Nearly three-quarters of schools will celebrate Anti-Bullying Week in one way or another between 13th and 17th of November 2017. But the campaign isn’t just for school age children. Bullying behaviour can be displayed by children as young as 3 years old, so it’s important that early years settings do their bit to.

Martha Evans, National Coordinator of the Anti-Bullying Alliance, looks forward to Anti-Bullying Week 2017, and how the alliance’s patron, Andy Day (and his band Andy and the Odd Socks) are encouraging children to wear odd socks to celebrate diversity.

Activity Idea
We have created two templates you can use in your settings to create some odd socks! Celebrate diversity during anti-bulling week (13th-17th Nov 17).

Choose from our odd sock activity page or our additional odd sock ideas.

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