WITS LEADS is a community-based program that focuses on teaching children from Kindergarten to Grade 3 problem solving skills using their WITS (walk away, ignore, talk it out and seek help).
The LEADS (look and listen, explore points of view, act, did it work and seek help) is geared towards Grades 4-6 students and also teaches them problem solving and conflict resolution.
Constable André Sparkes with the Lewisporte RCMP detachment launched the WITS program last year at the Academy and was back last week to launch WITS again and introduce LEADS.
“The LEADS program encourages the older students to watch out for and help the younger students if they face a problem,” he told TC Media.
Sparkes used an exercise called tug-of-help to drive home the fact that all of us need help sometimes to work through conflicts.
Grade 12 student Andrew Ryan played the part of a bully on one end of the rope while elementary student Simon Sparkes played the victim. Alone, Simon was quickly pulled down by Andrew, but with help from friends and community leaders he quickly resolved the conflict.
He noted that the program can be presented each fall when school starts to introduce new students to both programs.
Sparkes will follow-up with students throughout the year to see if they are using their WITS and LEADS skills in school.