Safe Environment Children’s Program
Lesson 1 – Family Catechesis
Grades K – 8, 9 - 12
Safety, Honesty and NO, GO, TELL
This is a required yearly safe-environment lesson which is to be presented to all children enrolled in Faith Formation programs throughout the Diocese of Scranton. The lesson is intended to generate a conversation between parents/caregivers and children regarding safety and honesty.
This year we are asking parents/caregivers to present this lesson at home. Deliver your message in the way that is most comfortable for you. We ask that you discuss this material will your child(ren) by November 22, 2020. We trust that the material will be presented. No further action is required on your part. We appreciate your cooperation and support in keeping all children safe.
Theme: Applying the Eighth Commandment – You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. We do not lie or gossip about others; we always tell the truth.
“Love rejoices in the truth…” 1 Corinthians 13: 6
Principle: Children must guard against those who may want to harm them. They must respect their own health and safety and the health and safety of others.
Catechism: Every human life, from the moment of conception until death, is sacred because the human person has been willed for its own sake in the image and likeness of the living and holy God. --#2319
Respect for the human person entails respect for the rights that flow from his dignity as a creature… --#1930
Goal: To assist families, educators, Directors of Religious Education programming, catechists, youth ministers and other caring adults in teaching children how to prevent or reduce the risk of sexual abuse.
Objectives: This lesson reinforces parents’ and caregivers’ safety message to protect the private body parts of the child. Upon completion of this lesson, the child should be better able to:
- Say “No!” when someone asks to see or touch the child’s private body parts or when someone asks the child to see or touch his or her private body parts
- Say “No!” if someone makes them feel uncomfortable
- Identify special safe adults
- Name safe adults and safe friends
- Establish safe boundaries with others
- Learn to say NO, GO (get away) and TELL a safe adult
Activity #1: Review and discuss the vocabulary
- Private body parts – those parts covered by a bathing suit
- Secret – something that is hidden from others or that is known only to one or to a few
- Honesty – telling the truth at all times. Honesty means to avoid telling a lie even to protect someone, and to avoid keeping silent when you know that telling the truth is the right thing to do
- Rules – steps we follow to stay safe and keep order
- Safe adult/Safe friend – will not hurt the child and will not confuse or scare the child intentionally. They will respect the child’s wishes and the rules of the parents/guardians/caregivers when it comes to personal safety.
- Special safe adult – those very few special adults, such as the child’s mother, father, doctor or nurse, who can see or touch the child’s body parts, but ONLY to help keep the child clean and healthy and ONLY when the child is sick or needs help.
- Peer Pressure – the strong influence of a group, especially of young people on members of that group, to behave as everyone else does.
- Boundaries – the limits that define one person as separate from another or from others. Boundaries promote and preserve personal integrity. Boundaries give each person a clear sense of “self” and a framework for how to function in relation to others. Boundaries bring order to our lives and empower each of us to determine how others will interact with us.
Activity #2: NO, GO, TELL
Explain the steps the child should take in an uncomfortable situation.
-Explain that we treat private body parts as “special” by keeping them covered. We do this in part to help keep our private body parts clean and healthy.
-Ask children what to do if someone wants to see or touch their private body parts of if an adult asks a child to touch the adult’s private body parts.
-Practice this response with the children: -Say NO , GO Run away , TELL a Safe Adult what happened
Make sure the children understand who the safe adults are in their lives: parents, grandparents, teachers, and their religious education instructor. These adults will help them no matter what the child shares with them.
Ask children how they would respond in the following situations:
1. Someone asks you to keep a secret from your family
2. Someone asks you to go with him/her in a car without your parents’ permission
3. An adult asks you to give him/her a hug which makes you feel uncomfortable
4. An adult asks you to leave your yard to help him/her find a lost puppy or other pet
5. At a friend’s house, the parents allow you and your friend to watch a movie that you know your parents would not allow you to watch.
With Grades 6-8, discussion may include:
1. Why is honesty important? Suggested answers: We need to trust one another to be able to work together, to meet each other’s needs, to love and care for each other and to keep each other safe.
2. Why is it sometimes tough to tell the truth? Suggested answers: We worry that we will hurt someone’s feelings or get into trouble. Hiding the truth may keep us out of trouble for a short time, but it almost always causes bigger trouble in the long run.
3. Are there consequences for being dishonest? People will not believe us when we do tell the truth. We may get into trouble. We could damage relationships. We could risk our safety.
4. What if someone says, “don’t tell your parents”, what should you do? Tell your parents right away. When someone says this, it usually means the consequences will not be good.
Activity #3: Families Share Feelings
Ask children to share a time when they felt: Happy, Sad, Mad, Scared and Worried. What did they do? Who did they tell? What could they do next time they are feeling that way?
Ask children to share who they think are the other adults in their lives who are able to protect them.
Suggested Prayer to End the Lesson
Angel of God, my guardian dear, to whom God’s love commits me here.
Ever this day be at my side, to light and guard, to rule and guide. Amen.