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Anti-Drug Education for Young Children

Education Expert Advice from Barbara Callaghan

Q: My nine year old daughter has been asked by her fourth grade teacher to speak to younger students in the school (she is one of a small group) on the subject of avoiding drugs. The fourth graders have prepared posters to show the younger classes. She's wondering what types of things her group should be telling the younger kids. (Note: There is an active D.A.R.E. program at the school, this effort is in addition to that formal education.) Any tips you might offer would be greatly appreciated.

A: The D.A.R.E. program has been around for a long time and many schools have used it to make their children aware of drugs. It's really great that your child's school is recruiting the older kids to work with the youngest children on this issue. This is much better than having adults lecture to them.

I believe that the K-3 children should be taught not to take pills from strangers, and to only take medicine from their parents when they are sick. Older kids can emphasize these points, and they can model responsible behavior in the face of peer pressure to experiment with drugs.

Your daughter and her classmates could put together little skits that could demonstrate how to handle a pushy drug dealer or party where some kids are trying drugs. They might be able to do a puppet show or make up a song they could teach the younger children. Fourth graders are very clever at creating ways of helping younger children learn something.

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After teaching in California for nearly ten years, Barbara Callaghan moved to New Hampshire in 1985 and became a principal. After 10 years as a principal, she returned to teaching, her first love and true vocation.

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