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Don't Laugh at Me

"Don't Laugh at Me" is a project begun by Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul, and Mary. It consists of the song "Don't Laugh at Me", a video, and activities designed to nurture children's emotional, social, and ethical development. The program is designed to be an introduction to, or enrichment of, the ongoing efforts of character education, conflict resolution, caring, and teaching tolerance that are already underway within the schools and the community.
The curriculum guide provides activities in four areas:

  • Expressing Feelings - helping children recognize their own feelings, as well as those of others, and being able to express oneself in a non-threatening way
  • Caring, Compassion, and Cooperation - working together toward a shared goal by taking responsibility for one’s own actions, helping others, and making group agreements, such as a Constitution of Caring and a Ridicule Free Zone
  • Resolving Conflict Creatively - teaching skills need to resolve conflict and disagreements respectively, creatively, and non-violently
  • Celebrating Diversity - helping children to acknowledge differences without judgment and helping them to create an environment where everyone can feel comfortable about their own personal differences.

Each theme provides activities and ideas that can be integrated into the daily curriculum and culture of a classroom. Opportunities are also suggested to take the ideas out into the community and share them with families.

Currently there is a 2nd to 5th grade curriculum and a 6th to 8th grade curriculum. Westerville City Schools are working through the guidance counselors to provide appropriate materials to all staff members K to 12th grade who want to share these strategies and skills with their students. Parents are being included in planning for the future to possibly provide parent workshops to share this information with them as well.

Westerville City Schools was privileged to have Peter Yarrow present a "Don't Laugh at Me" in our district in September of 2002. We hope to have him return in the future to reach other community members.

Additional information about "Don't Laugh at Me" can be obtained from the DLAM program web site http://www.operationrespect.org/curricula/index.php.

  The Westerville Way is all about character, community, and commitment.