By Breanne Massey
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

In an effort to Lift Each Other Up, the preschool students and after-school program participants at Little Badgers Early Learning Program and Nature School (LBELP) have been focused on learning about the Superheroes of Kindness curriculum.

LBELP has spent a few weeks teaching about the importance of caring for yourself and others in support of Pink Shirt Day (PSD).

“Children have great empathy for their friends and loved ones,” said Evy Walker, LBELP early childhood educator (ECE). “While they are still learning to have gentle hands and kind words, they do understand the importance of helping their friends feel happy. Children tend to understand more than we give them credit for.”

PSD is a Canadian movement that began in Nova Scotia when the charity CKNW Kid’s Fund started a partnership with the Boys and Girls Clubs and 980 CKNW to raise funds to support anti-bullying programs. Their team’s goal is to focus on raising awareness about bullying and creating programming that supports a health self-esteem in children.

The CKNW’s PPSD website says representing hope, opportunities and the pride of LGBTQ2+ youth is especially important to the cause so that bullying in the community can be mitigated.

According to CKNW Kid’s Fund, 59,000 youth were impacted by PSD funded programs in 2020. However, one in five children are affected by bullying.

Annually on Feb. 24, Canadians are urged to wear a pink shirt to raise awareness about bullying or to purchase official PSD merchandise to support anti-bullying initiatives in B.C. through or at London Drugs stores this month across Canada.

However, the PSD’s official pink shirt launched for 2021 is actually not pink – it’s a white t-shirt with a pink graphic — a decision made with the hopes that all anti-bullying advocates could wear their shirt all year long as opposed to only on Feb. 24.

“We have been learning about the importance of kindness and how small acts can make someone’s day,” said Walker. “We also have been learning about Bucket Filling and the importance of filling our friends’ buckets. At the preschool level, we try to focus on the Golden rule of treating others how you like to be treated year-round.”

Walker anticipates ECEs at LBELP, along with all program participants, will be demonstrating the importance of caring for their neighbours on PSD this week.

With PSD in mind, use the #LiftEachOtherUp all year long and continually advocate for vulnerable populations in your communities.