A simple story about a shark overcoming his fears is being used in schools and homes across the country as a way of tackling the difficult subject of bullying.
Bullying can start from a very young age and so anything that can prevent it happening before it even begins is a positive move.
According to a government report almost half (46 per cent) of children and young people say they have been bullied at school at some point in their lives, and 18 per cent of children and young people who worried about bullying said they would not talk to their parents about it.
Professional storyteller and award-winning children's author Neil Griffiths has created Shaun the Shy Shark Storysack to teach young children to overcome their fears.
Storysacks are award-winning products that help to bring stories to life and encourage role-play. The sacks include soft toys of the main characters, scenery and props relating to items in the story.
As an ex-headteacher, Neil really understands how bullying can affect young children. Neil said: "NSPCC research has shown that primary aged children tend to reject bullies rather than the victims, but as children get older this changes. Bullying is serious. Long-term effects can lead to loneliness, poor academic achievement, poor social skills and other serious problems."
By using storytelling, young children will be able to relate to Shaun's fears and emotions of the other sea creatures that he meets in the murky depths of the seabed, to situations they may face in the classroom or playground. This approach encourages children to share any problems they may have with their teachers or parents.
Neil added: "What we need to do is change the behaviour of bullies and we can do this by understanding why bullies do what they do, and show bullies the consequences of their behaviour. And we can help children to think about what they're doing and to understand that their behaviour is absolutely unacceptable."
Aimed primarily at nurseries and primary schools, Storysacks also come with instructions for parents and grandparents to use; they offer hours of literacy based activities and are ideal for use in the classroom and in the home. Each Shaun the Shy Shark Storysack contains a cloth sack, fiction storybook, non-fiction book, scenery, eight plush toy sea creatures, a fishing game and audio guides.
Available at www.storysack.com
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