Sooke self-defence class educates kids on situational danger

Program takes place Sunday at SEAPARC from 1 to 2 p.m. for kids ages 5 to 10

Ensure better safety for your child by entering them in a self-protection program happening Sunday at SEAPARC in Sooke.

The class, hosted by Sheepdog Self Protection, is for kids ages five to 10 and will run from 1 to 2 p.m. Parents are required to attend.

The purpose of the program is to educate kids on situational danger with a focus on preventing child abductions and sexual exploitation.

“The class helps kids develop confidence, assertiveness skills, it empowers them and gives them independence, and it also gives families and parents some peace of mind that their child is being enlightened and educated about personal safety,” said program teacher Kristin Gref­fard.

“Sooke is a growing municipality, particularly for families, so I think it’s important to educate those families and build safer communities.”

Greffard is a law enforcement officer that has been training in self-protection for the last 14 years.

During the class kids will learn about street safety rules, home alone rules, what to do if they are lost, how to find safe places when help is needed, body rules such as good touching vs. bad touching, when to call 911 and realistic physical and verbal strategies.

“The old values of teaching kids ‘don’t talk to strangers’ doesn’t work, it’s too complicated for them to understand, so instead we teach them how to recognize danger in situations,” said Gref­fard.

“An example scenario is if they are at the playground and car pulls up and identifies that they are a police officer but is dressed as a regular civilian. Maybe the driver will show a badge and says something bad has happened at home, so the child will learn to decide whether or not to get in with them.”

Gref­fard said they will also learn about a child’s “six special powers”, which includes walking, seeing, thinking, feeling, voice and body. This will help them be more aware of what’s going on around them, recognize danger or if someone makes them feel uneasy, be assertive with their voice and know how to say ‘No’, and use their body to protect themselves.

“They are essentially going to learn how to throw the best temper tantrum ever,” said Gref­fard. “They will learn how to become dead weight, and punch and kick while making a big scene and drawing as much attention to themselves as possible.”

The class costs $25 and those interested can register through the SEAPARC website.

For more information on Sheepdog Self Protection and their programs, visit their website at sheepdogselfprotection.com.

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