218641 Inspiring Caring School Environments: How theatre adds value to bully-prevention efforts in elementary schools

Wednesday, November 10, 2010 : 11:15 AM - 11:30 AM

Curtis Robbins, MBA , Educational Theatre Programs, Kaiser Permanente Colorado, Englewood, CO
Sarah Johnson, BA , Educational Theatre Programs, Kaiser Permanente, Denver, CO
Lisa Pisciotta , Denver Public School District, Denver, CO
Since 1985, Kaiser Permanente Colorado's Educational Theatre Programs have used theatre to enlighten and challenge student audiences to make positive, healthy choices on relevant issues for youth. In recent years, cultivating a caring environment for all students has become a pervasive concern among school communities. Consistently, the Educational Theatre Programs have received requests from administrators and teachers desiring a program with innovative and effective strategies to address bully prevention. In early 2009, Choose Your Life, a live action, interactive play created and performed by professional actors from Kaiser Permanente Colorado's Educational Theatre Programs, was developed to inspire upper elementary students to choose safe and respectful strategies to stop instances of harassment and bullying among their peers. Choose Your Life is performed in the context of larger school prevention initiatives and utilizes educational content from the evidenced-based Olweus Bully Prevention Program, translating messaging into youth-friendly, practical concepts. When theatre is used as a method for educating elementary students about bully prevention, what impact does it have on building a safer school environment? This presentation will assess the impact of the Choose Your Life program through: data tracked for variation in bullying incidences at schools with and without a Choose Your Life performance (N= 6 schools); pre, post and follow-up student surveys examining knowledge change and retention in 300 4th grade students; a demonstration of the educational and theatrical methods used in Choose Your Life through performance samples; and qualitative evidence of the play's efficacy through teacher observation (N=30 teachers).

Learning Areas:
Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Communication and informatics
Diversity and culture
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
1. Demonstrate elements of the Choose Your Life bully-prevention program. 2. Desribe the target audience, the evidenced-based learning content, and the process for measuring program impact. 3. Analyze the results of the assessment process that includes pre and post knowledge awareness, incidences of disciplinary action in case and control schools.

Keywords: Violence Prevention, School Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I have overseen the development and assessment of the Choose Your Life program.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.