Teaching young ones not to bully

First Posted: 1/27/2014

Shannon Kreidler has added another job title to her resume – published author.

The 43-year-old Ross Elementary School kindergarten teacher from Hunlock Creek recently penned a children’s book called, “The Adventures of Sally the Squirrel,” a story that helps teach young children how to deal with bullying.

The book follows Sally the Squirrel and her friend Sammy the Skunk as they make their way to school, Ross Elementary. During the trip, the two find themselves in compromising situations involving other woodland creatures and they have to make choices about how to deal with conflict.

“During the journey, the crow tries to steal Sally’s lunch, and the students have to make a choice: Should Sally give the crow her lunch, or should they just scurry back down the tree?” said Kreidler.

She said children earn rewards for making the right decisions and, even if a student makes a poor choice, it opens up a discussion about the situation.

“When they make good choices, they get gold stars and they can be added up in the end,” said Kreidler. “It’s interactive because the book talks to the students and they make the choices.”

Though Kreidler said bullying isn’t much of an issue at Ross Elementary, she believes it is big problem in many other parts of the country.

“Here at Ross we have an anti-bullying pledge that we say every morning in which the kids promise not to be a bully and to help those being bullied,” she said. “I don’t see it a lot at Ross Elementary but I see (bullying) all the time in the media.”

Kreidler hopes the book, which is geared towards students in kindergarten through sixth grade, will give her students the tools to deal with bullying should they ever find themselves in that situation.

“When I read it to my students, they were really engaged in the story and were thinking about what choice to make,” she said. “When students made the wrong choice, I asked them to rethink the situation and asked them what does fighting accomplish.”

Kreidler has always wanted to write children’s books and was inspired by a story her mother read to her as a young girl.

“My mother used to read me a story about a squirrel whose home was taken over by red squirrels,” she said. “I just remember how brave the squirrel was and that’s how I came up with Sally the Squirrel.”

Kreidler hopes this will be the first of many Sally the Squirrel books and is looking for a literary agent to help move her career forward.

“I would like to write another book. Maybe it will take place in a city next time,” she said.

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