Bully Prevention through Storytelling



Elisa's Article "Empowering Middle School Students to Stop Bullying" as published in the Fall 2012 issue of the National Storytellng Network's Storytelling Magazine. Facts about bullying What you can do A story

Once Upon a Caring Classroom: Bullying Prevention through Storytelling

This is a 50-60 minute performance/interactive program with adaptations for grades K-8.

In this storytelling based program Elisa tells multicultural folk tales (biographical and personal stories) that engage and involve the audience. These tales promote a greater awareness of the many aspects of bullying and bullying prevention listed below. Between the stories Elisa involves the audience in brief age appropriate role plays and brainstorms, and discussion.

  • Identifying the specific behaviors of bullying, including; physical, verbal and relational types of bullying. Teasing and gossiping included. These are initially identified after the first story and written on chart paper, and added to during the program.
  • Identifying the different roles that are played in bullying situations including; the bully(s), the join-ins, the silent observers, the helpers and the target(s) (victims), and helping the children to move toward becoming helpers.
  • Demonstrating the importance of respecting others, and having tolerance and appreciation for their differences and special qualities.
  • Inspiring and helping bystanders to stand-up for targets of bullying by identifying the challenges they face, helping them to find the courage and empathy to do so.
  • Taking responsibility for ones actions and understanding that stopping bullying is everyone's responsibility.
  • Helping targets of bullying to learn new empowering, nonviolent tools for dealing with bullies that can also raise self-esteem.
  • Inspiring a commitment to school-wide cooperation.
  • Audience members gain a greater awareness of the seriousness of bullying and new inspiration and strategies to help stop it. During the performance we create a detailed list of bullying behaviors for teachers and students to work with. Teachers receive follow-up suggestions to help the students to practice bullying prevention strategies in school.


Reviews and Kudos for Elisa's program

Read detailed descriptions and reviews of Elisa's Bully Prevention workshop presented at two different k-8 schools in Somerville, and Beverly MA.

  • Elisa brings anti-bullying message to students at Somerville school. >>Read More


  • Storyteller Elisa Pearmain visited Glen Urquhart School to share folk tales that illuminate the topic of bullying. >>Read More


Follow-up Workshops

Following the performance Elisa can visit individual classrooms to deepen the learning. In these workshops students learn more techniques for standing up to bullying, and practice them in various scenarios that we create. Self-esteem building games can also be played at the elementary school level to help students respond assertively to bullying. If a storytelling and writing focus is preferred students will be lead through story writing and or sharing exercises to personalize the experience of bullying and create alternative endings to bullying stories.

“You’re a great actress! The voice changes for the characters were great.
The stories allowed my students to see many types of bullying from different perspectives.
The students especially liked practicing how to stand up for themselves if they were bullied,
and made up some phrases of their own afterwards in class.”   
                                                Grade One Teacher, Cold Springs Elementary, Plymouth, MA


Dear Elisa, I wanted to convey to you how strong your presentation was (for our eighth graders).  
You wove together personal observations, statistics, suggestions, and stories in expert ways.
Thanks for sharing you approach with us.
J. Chamberlain.  Clarke MS, English Dept.


“You made me think twice about what I say to people, and the way I look at them;
their race, religion, size-everything.” Sarah B., Grade 8, Dunn Middle School, Danvers.


“Your storytelling was entertaining as well as educational. Your stories matched our
requests that you address respect and bullying. Thanks to the ideas you gave
my students on how to speak in front of a group, I have seen a marked
improvement in their presentations!”
Teacher, V. Barstow, Grade 5, Framingham, MA