Anti-bullying Our KiVa programme

23 February 2021

This article was initially published by the family platform Parentville.

The Institut International de Lancy (IIL) has become the first school in Switzerland to implement the Finnish anti-bullying program KiVa

On top of being an excellent school, with a great educational program, sports and cultural activities, they are also helping to create a more peaceful society of the future. 

Over 10% 

Bullying is present in all schools, all over the world, 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. 

Two sides

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 Irishman Edmund Burke once said: “it would seem that the only thing that allows bullying to flourish in schools is inaction”. 

The solution at IIL

The 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 in the University of Turku (Finland). 

About KiVa 

KiVa was developed at the 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 KiVa programme highlights the dynamics of bullying and it is usually not as simple as bully versus victim. Bullying participants can incorporate some other roles such as assistants, reinforcers, defenders and the silent witnesses.

The program begins with a full staff training (not only for teachers).  Starting at the beginning of the school year, classroom activities based on age, are implemented regularly to teach children about empathy, tolerance, respect for differences, and citizenship.  Through lessons, video games and debates, children aged 7 and over are invited to detect the different forms of bullying and learn not to support, actively or passively, this type of behaviour.

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 who have switched to home schooling due to these issues. Knowing now that there is one private school implementing an anti-bullying program that works makes me hopeful!