Shaker Heights Schools implement 'My Mad Feelings' anti-bullying initiative

SHAKER HEIGHTS, OH (WOIO) - Shaker Heights Schools has partnered with Hanna Perkins Center for Child Development to implement an anti-bullying-prevention curriculum to every classroom in the "Shaker's First Class" early learning program.

It's called "My Mad Feelings" and it helps children understand the strong feelings of anger or frustration that are part of any school day.

The goal is to prevent students from becoming bullies or victims. Author, Victoria Todd, said she developed the anti-bullying program out of nationwide concern.

She says early detection in preschool is key because that's when bullying starts.

"They hit. They snatch. they cry, they don't use words. When you get to 3, 4, 5 year olds, you'll see social exclusion: 'get away from us, you're ugly, we don't want to be bothered with you,'" she explained.

There are six steps, taught over the course of 12 sessions with small group discussion and ongoing reinforcement in school and at home with parents.

"They need to know it's safe to speak. when a child is told no one wants to hear them or they speak and they're misunderstood, there's no place for the aggression to go," said Rique Sollisch, consultant for Hanna Perkins.

"I was concerned at first that the children might not be willing to talk. I can't stop them. I have to literally shut it down because they want to talk about their mad feelings," said Todd.

"My Mad Feelings" is up for a prestigious academic award, the "Anna Freud Educational Award."

If you'd like to bring the program to your child's school, contact the Hanna Perkins Center at 216-991-4472 or email:

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