Class teaches kids how to react to strangers

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Updated: 11/08/2013 2:09 am
Students in Koala Bear HSC got a different kind of education Thursday. 

"Well, we were teaching the kids how to be safe."

John Weurflein, with the Children's Advocacy Center, and his puppet helper, Yello Dino, taught kids how to handle a "stranger danger" situation. 

"What we teach them is the Yello Dino Yell, and it's 'Help, this is not my dad', or 'Help, this is not my mom,'" Wuerflein said. "Because that lets strangers know that the kid is in trouble and needs help."

"He is such a loveable character, and like you said, children are very trusting," Venus Jones, director of the Koala Bear HSC, said. "So, with the Yello Dino, he is this awesome, cute little dinosaur. Who is not going to love him and trust him? So, I think it makes it easy for the children to receive that."

Wurflein said it takes a special language to get the message across to children. 

"We talk to kids Pre-K through fourth, and it just puts it on a level that they understand," Wuerflein said. "The swimsuits that we were talking about, safety zones. Your safety zones are what your swimsuit covers, and it's not okay for someone to touch you there. If someone does, then you've got those tools; 'Help, this is not my dad', take three steps back and run like the wind to get away from that person."

Even the words "stranger danger" are replaced with a more kid-friendly alternative. 

"Some police officers are strangers to kids, but they help. So, what we talk to the kids about is tricky people. Anybody can be a tricky person. The vast majority of people that abuse our children are the ones they love and trust."

Wuerflein said he also teaches children to listen to their instints, what he calls their "heart bell", and trust if if something feels wrong. 

For more information on how to become a Yello Dino volunteer, or sign up for a class, click here
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chris stralyn - 4/9/2014 2:13 PM
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The most important tip for parents on this topic is to explain to young children WHAT A STRANGER IS. Most young kids don't understand that a stranger is simply someone they don't know. They envision strangers as monsters or scary looking people. An excellent book for helping parents talk to kids about strangers is Stranger Danger - How to Talk to Kids About Strangers by Kristi Porter. I think it's pretty much available everywhere, including amazon. It's the only book I've found out there that offers parents step by step guidelines in how to approach this topic with their kids. I highly recommend it.
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