Teach­ing to em­power chil­dren and keep them safe!

The Australian Education Reporter - - THE NATIONAL EDUCATION SUMMIT -

EDUCATE2EMPOWER Pub­lish­ing is a Mel­bourne-based com­pany, pro­duc­ing books and re­sources to em­power chil­dren and help keep them safe.

Educate2empower’s co-founder Jayneen San­ders is an ex­pe­ri­enced au­thor, pub­lisher, pri­mary school teacher, mother of three and an ac­tive ad­vo­cate for body safety, gen­der equal­ity and re­spect­ful re­la­tion­ship ed­u­ca­tion be­ing taught in homes and in schools.

Jayneen is lead au­thor of En­gage Lit­er­acy for Cap­stone Class­room, and has had over 120 sto­ries pub­lished for chil­dren in this se­ries.

Her time spent in pri­mary schools both as a teacher and a par­ent in­spired her to ask the ques­tion of her com­mu­nity: ‘What are we do­ing in schools to em­power chil­dren and pro­tect them from in­ap­pro­pri­ate touch?’

When she re­alised very lit­tle was ac­tu­ally be­ing done, she de­cided to use her au­thor­ing and pub­lish­ing skills to write re­sources to help par­ents, care­givers and teach­ers to broach the sub­ject of self-pro­tec­tion and to en­cour­age chil­dren to speak up.

Jayneen feels passionately that we can do so much more to keep our chil­dren safe by teach­ing them age-ap­pro­pri­ate and em­pow­er­ing pre­ven­tion ed­u­ca­tion.

Statis­tics show that ap­prox­i­mately 1 in 5 girls and 1 in 12 boys will be sex­u­ally abused be­fore they reach 18 years of age, and 95 per cent will know the abuser.

In her prepa­ra­tion for writ­ing the book ‘Some Se­crets Should Never Be Kept’, and reaf­firmed through re­sponses to the pub­lished book, she heard one par­tic­u­lar theme re­peated from sur­vivors of sex­ual child abuse, ‘If only I had known from that first in­ap­pro­pri­ate touch it was wrong, my life would be so dif­fer­ent.’

Jayneen soon learnt that while pre­ven­tion ed­u­ca­tion is em­pow­er­ing, af­ter a child has been abused it is far more com­plex—so the ear­lier that chil­dren could re­ceive and un­der­stand pre­ven­tion ed­u­ca­tion, the less likely they would be to ex­pe­ri­ence long-term trauma.

The process of get­ting this im­por­tant book out into the pub­lic was not easy. Just as she had met reser­va­tion from her lo­cal school coun­cil over teach­ing body safety, Jayneen also had a chal­lenge se­cur­ing a pub­lisher for the book.

Such a chal­lenge, in fact, that she and her hus­band Mark de­cided to pool their knowl­edge from work­ing in the pub­lish­ing in­dus­try to pub­lish the book them­selves... and so Educate2empower Pub­lish­ing was es­tab­lished.

Jayneen is qui­etly proud of the suc­cess of ‘Some Se­crets Should Never Be Kept’. It has al­lowed teach­ers and par­ents a safe segue into Body Safety con­ver­sa­tions that need to be had with chil­dren.

“Sadly many par­ents don’t even broach this sub­ject with their kids be­cause they hon­estly be­lieve it will never hap­pen to their child,” she said.

“Se­crets are the cur­rency the per­pe­tra­tor deals in and they will do all they can to en­sure the se­cret is kept.”

“We need to ed­u­cate our chil­dren to tell, from that first in­ap­pro­pri­ate touch, and we also need to ed­u­cate our com­mu­nity to be­lieve chil­dren.”

Educate2empower Pub­lish­ing was ini­tially es­tab­lished to get ‘Some Se­crets Should Never Be Kept’ out into the com­mu­nity, how­ever Jayneen could see that still more needed to be done in this space to em­power chil­dren.

‘My Body! What I Say Goes!’ has reached best-seller sta­tus for Chil­dren’s Safety Books on Ama­zon sev­eral times since its re­lease in 2016, and as well as writ­ing a num­ber of other chil­dren’s books (cov­er­ing the top­ics of body safety, re­spect, con­sent and gen­der equal­ity), Jayneen has also cre­ated posters, work­sheets, teach­ing notes and les­son plans and has put to­gether a Teacher’s Re­source Kit for Body Safety and Re­spect­ful Re­la­tion­ships Ed­u­ca­tion.

Recog­nis­ing that em­pow­er­ing chil­dren and pro­tect­ing them from abuse could also be en­hanced through early ed­u­ca­tion of gen­der equal­ity and en­cour­ag­ing so­cial and emo­tional in­tel­li­gence, Jayneen has started writ­ing books in th­ese spa­ces too.

As well as ad­dress­ing child abuse pre­ven­tion, the col­lec­tion of books may also help to counter do­mes­tic vi­o­lence, bul­ly­ing, racism, dis­crim­i­na­tion, and men­tal health is­sues - all very rel­e­vant within our cur­rent com­mu­ni­ties.

Educate2empower Pub­lish­ing now of­fers spe­cific book bun­dles to teach Body Safety & Con­sent, Gen­der Equal­ity, or So­cial & Emo­tional In­tel­li­gence, as well as an over­all bun­dle for Em­pow­er­ment.

The em­pow­er­ment and safety of chil­dren is what drives Jayneen to con­tinue to work dili­gently in this space.

She would love to see ALL schools in Aus­tralia (and around the world) in­tro­duce Body Safety Ed­u­ca­tion as part of their cur­ricu­lum.

“The act of sex­ual abuse is never men­tioned. PLEASE don’t fear this topic,” Jayneen said.

“We are talk­ing to chil­dren. The ed­u­ca­tion pro­vided can be age-ap­pro­pri­ate and em­pow­er­ing. There is ac­tu­ally no down­side to teach­ing Body Safety.”

Jayneen San­ders is a pas­sion­ate ad­vo­cate for re­spect­ful re­la­tion­ship ed­u­ca­tion.

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