Cape Town - With 1.2 million learners returning to schools in the Western Cape today, the 2024 school year has officially started and with this, also comes new cases of bullying at schools.
The iconic SABC children’s educational TV programme Takalani Sesame tackles the issues faced around the increasing number of bullying cases in South Africa.
During the first few weeks of a new school year, children may experience a wide range of emotions.
While some may be eager to get back into their routines, engage in extracurricular activities, and see their friends, others may be a little nervous about starting at a new school altogether.
Takalani Sesame’s Season 14, offers children and their caregivers functional ways of helping them recognise and regulate their feelings. Throughout the season, you can explore how big feelings affect us all, especially children.
Senior director: education and deputy managing director at Sesame Workshop South Africa, Mari Payne, shares tips and advice on how parents, teachers, and children can take action to prevent bullying at school.
Payne explains: “While children are expected to adjust well in the first few months, maybe occasionally prompting teachers and parents to confront big feelings along the way, sometimes they can experience ‘shock’ from adjusting to new routines and surroundings.
“This can cause unpleasant behavioural changes in them throughout the academic year.”
She adds that young children differ in expressing emotions and are still under-developed in how to process those emotions.
In these instances, “big feelings” in children can often develop into aggressive behaviour, leading to bullying tendencies, if not dealt with in the early stages.
Payne adds: “If you experienced bullying as a child, you most likely recall feeling alone, insecure, scared, and helpless.
“Research indicates that the bullying endured as a child might have been so horrific that its consequences may still be felt today as an adult.
“This lack of healing and closure is especially true if the bullying was never resolved or addressed when you were younger.”
For more talks and activities on “Big Feelings”, watch Takalani Sesame season 14, which airs weekdays at 7am on SABC1.
Episodes are broadcast in English on Mondays, in isiZulu on Tuesdays, in Sesotho on Wednesdays, in Ndebele on Thursdays and in Afrikaans on Fridays.