Elementary workshops are one hour classroom workshops facilitated by three CAP facilitators. Using roleplays and guided group discussion, the classroom workshop trains children to recognize potentially dangerous situations, and to make effective use of the options available to them when dealing with such a situation. CAP emphasizes self assertion, peer support and communication with a trusted adult as prevention strategies. CAP approaches the question of assault within the framework of basic human rights.

The opening discussion of “rights” is followed by three roleplays. Each one is followed by discussion. These roleplays represent the most common assault experiences a child might encounter: child against child (bullying situation), adult stranger against child, and assault involving an adult the child knows. The roleplays are used to provide situations from which children can brainstorm successful strategies. Each roleplay is performed twice. First the child is shown as a victim.Then, after a “brainstorming session” the roleplay is redone as a “success story”,incorporating positive prevention techniques. Children are given an opportunity to participate in supportive roles to practice positive behavior. These roleplays are conducted by certified adult CAP facilitators (Note: CAP never allows children participating in their programs to be placed in a negative or scary role even if they are only acting.)

In a final role play, the classroom teacher is invited to play her/himself as a supportive adult responding to a child’s request for help. This roleplay gives children an opportunity to visualize what would happen if they needed to talk to someone about a problem. It gives a clear message to children that their teachers care and are there to offer support.

Following a brief summary, children are told that CAP facilitators will be available for further discussion. We have found that many children seek out workshop facilitators to talk about a variety of issues. Emphasis during this review time is primarily reinforcing skills learned during the classroom workshop and strengthening children’s belief in their rights to be  “SAFE, STRONG and FREE”.®

NJ CAP is a RTC of the International Center for Assault Prevention. It partners with state, national and worldwide prevention advocates.