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What’s happening in Rainbow Schools?

Dare to Care transforms the silent majority into the caring majority

Lansdowne Public School and Valley View Public School have teamed up to deliver an innovative bullying prevention program. Called Dare to Care, the program is currently being piloted by Rainbow District School Board in 12 schools across Sudbury, Espanola and Manitoulin Island.

With modules for students, professional learning for staff, and resources for parents/guardians, Dare to Care engages the entire school community to work towards a common goal – transforming the silent majority into the caring majority.

“Dare to Care engages the whole school community, which is important in shifting the overall culture of the school,” says Director of Education Bruce Bourget. “We want all schools to be places of learning where students feel safe in warm and welcoming environments. When students have a strong sense of belonging at school, they are ready to achieve their full potential.”

Students learn about the importance of being kind, the difference between bullying and mean moments, tattling versus asking for help, and standing up for yourself and others.

Prevention and intervention strategies focus on social emotional learning with an emphasis on empathy. Through the program, all stakeholders – including administrators, teachers, support staff, parents/guardians and students – gain a deeper understanding of bullying, and, more importantly, develop tools to create a caring community.

In all modules from Kindergarten to Grade 8, Dare to Care teaches children that not every unkind word or action is bullying. The program begins by instilling a common definition of bullying and a common language around bullying behavior.

Students learn to understand the difference between a mean moment, normal conflict and bullying. They also learn a shared language around discrimination, racism and cyberbullying. In the older grades, students are introduced to the effects of bullying on mental health, sexual harassment and cyberbullying, and bullying and the law.

Students gain skills to de-escalate situations and more effectively report incidents of bullying. A student can ask a bully to STOP (twice) in a calm voice, then walk away and seek adult assistance with three simple words: “Please help me!” Adults are trained to listen carefully when they hear these words.

According to school administrators, response to Dare to Care has been positive. “The overall atmosphere in the school is different,” says Valley View Public School Principal Brenda Carr. “Being kind sparks joy.” She adds: “When the need arises, they help each other move back to the top of the kindness meter. Students have a remarkable ability to empathize at a young age.”

Lansdowne Public School is one of 12 Rainbow Schools piloting the Dare to Care bullying prevention program. When asked what students are learning, Grade 3 student Ava Gaudreau said “to be kind”.

“The entire school community now has a common language and shared understanding of what bullying is and, more importantly, what it isn’t,” says Lansdowne Public School Principal Jennifer Harvey. “Students can self-reflect on whether an incident is a mean moment, normal conflict or bullying. They also know bullying is not acceptable and will be addressed.”

Lansdowne and Valley View have taken a whole school approach to implementation, with weekly assemblies for primary (K to 3), junior (4 to 6) and intermediate (7 and 8) students. School-wide delivery ensures consistency and shows students they have a strong circle of caring adults by their side.

Students in Grade 4 at Valley View Public School, who are also participating in Dare to Care, prepared art to showcase kindness. Quinton Lemery said: “Be kind to everybody no matter what.”

Back in the classroom, teachers reinforce the learning through age-appropriate lessons, discussions, and activities, including art and music. While the activities differ by grade, the key concepts, language and message remain the same.

The program also helps parents/guardians become allies in supporting their children through resources and videos on a Parent Portal. Dare to Care carefully defines the word bullying and stresses the importance of having a common understanding of the definition. Parents learn what bullying looks like, including the difference between normal peer conflict and bullying.

Tips and guidelines are provided for parents to help their children make positive choices both online with social media and other technology and in their daily face-to-face interactions. During webinars, parents learn six non-reactive life skills that can be reinforced at home so children feel more confident and competent in dealing with bullying situations.

At the beginning of each module, students are introduced to a tool to help gauge their kindness. In younger grades, kindness is measured on the positivity meter, which is much like a thermometer. In the older grades, the kindness meter is represented by batteries, like those on electronic devices.

Watch Grade 4 student Hailey Jokinen from Valley View Public School explain the kindness meter:

What have students learned from the Dare to Care program?

Watch this video from Lansdowne Public School:

Watch this video from Valley View Public School:

Students from Valley View Public School invite everyone to “Try a Little Kindness”:

The following schools are piloting Dare to Care in the 2022-2023 school year:
Algonquin Road Public School
Alexander Public School
Churchill Public School
C.R. Judd Public School
Lansdowne Public School
Little Current Public School
Markstay Public School
Monetville Public School
Northeastern Elementary School
Princess Anne Public School
Queen Elizabeth Public School
Valley View Public School

Learning modules – Kindergarten to Grade 2
The Importance of Being Kind and Bullying Behaviour versus Buddy Behaviour
Bullying versus Mean Moments
Discrimination (and Intro to Racism)
Broken Heart Activity: The Impact of Bullying
Tattling versus Asking For Help
Standing Up for Yourself and Others

Learning modules – Grades 3 and 4
Positivity Meter and Types of Bullying
Definition of Bullying Conflict vs Bullying
Why Bullying exists: Silent Majority vs Caring Majority
Discrimination and Racism
The Imbalance of Power: Tug of War
Tool Belt of Skills
Practicing the Tool Belt of Skills

Learning modules – Grades 5 and 6
Kindness Meter and Finding Your Greatness
Types of Bullying
Definition of Bullying: Conflict vs Bullying
Why Bullying Exists: Silent Majority vs Caring Majority
Discrimination and Racism
The Imbalance of Power: Tug of War
Tool Belt of Skills
Practicing the Tool Belt of Skills

Learning modules – Grades 7 and 8
Positivity Meter and Types of Bullying
I’m Tired of Hearing the Word Bullying: Conflict vs Bullying
Cyberbullying and Sexual Harassment: A Closer Look
Discrimination and Racism: Unacceptable, Full Stop!
Everybody Has a Story
One Person Can Make a Difference!
Lowering Our Waterlines: Image vs True Self

Founded in 1999 in Calgary, Alberta, Dare to Care has worked with over 40 school boards, established programming in 1,200+ schools, and impacted over 75,000 students, teachers and parents each year. To learn more, visit


Media Contact:

Nicole Charette, Senior Advisor,
Corporate Communications and Strategic Planning
Rainbow District School Board, 705-674-3171, ext. 7217

Grade 4 students from Valley View Public School, including Madison Stickles, prepared heart prints to identify what they value and what they believe makes them unique.