Background For Teachers
 
Grades 4-6 (ages 9-12)

It's important that adults who work with children in grades 4-6 do the following:
Help children develop skills to lead healthy, productive lives.
Help children develop an orientation for the future which includes continuing their education and being responsible for themselves and others.
Help children learn to deal effectively with peers and the pressures they exert.
Help children develop friendships that are rewarding and encourage individual growth.
Help children develop strategies to deal with rejection, frustration, disappointment, and failure.
Teach about drugs individually and help children build concrete reasons to say no to each one.


Facts about Alcohol and Other Drugs

Grades 4-6 (ages 9-12)

Children in grades 4-6 increasingly may be exposed to alcohol and other drugs and some may begin to use them. They need more detailed information about alcohol, tobacco, and others drugs. They also need stronger motivation to avoid drugs. This is a particularly critical time because the younger children are when they try drugs, the more likely they are to become chronic users. Drug prevention education should focus on:

Developing life skills such as resisting peer pressure, communicating with adults (including families), seeking help with problems, helping others, and accepting personal and civic responsibility.

At these ages, children like order and rules, but to follow rules, they need to know how the rules work and why they were established. Children will inevitably make their own choices, and it is important that these choices be based on family and community standards, knowledge of the facts, and respect for the law.

Concern about drugs
According to the National Adolescent School Health Survey among 11,000 eighth and tenth graders, showed that:
72 percent of eighth graders and 41 percent of tenth graders who reported trying cigarettes had tried them by grade 6.
Of the 77 percent of eighth graders, who had tried alcohol, 55 percent said they first tried it by grade 6.

Of the 15 percent of eighth graders, who had tried marijuana, 44 percent had first tried it by grade 6.

Children in grades 4-6 need to know:
How to identify alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, cocaine, inhalants, hallucinogens, and stimulants in their various forms;
That use of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs is illegal at their age, about addiction and how addiction affects individuals and their families.
That smokeless tobacco and wine coolers are drugs that are both harmful and illegal for them.

 
Working with Parents

 
Grades 4-6

Background
Children in grades 4-6 still want to have their parents involved in their lives. The opportunities for parents to become strong allies in preventing drug use are enhanced if schools consider the following in working with parents:
Parents might need information about alcohol and other drugs and the signs of their use.
Parents should be informed about drug prevention programs in which their children are involved.
Some parents might need reminders about the importance of supporting their children's efforts with fair, appropriate judgment.
Parents might need encouragement in giving their children increasing amounts of freedom while also remaining important sources of values, information, and support.
Parents might need reminders that children should not be left unsupervised; they continue to need child care before and after school and when parents aren't home.
Parents should be encouraged to keep lines of communication open and to allow children to ask any questions.
Parents should be reminded of the importance of knowing who their children are with at all times, who is in charge, who their friends are, and who the parents of their friends are.
Parents should know that children with friends who use alcohol and other drugs run a high risk themselves of becoming users of alcohol and other drugs.


Suggestions for involving parents
 

To enhance parental involvement in drug prevention, consider doing the following activities:

Have students bring home a copy of the Fact Page for grades 4-6 in this curriculum model.
Inform parents about drug use which occurs during unsupervised times at home.
Send parents a regular newsletter describing and updating curriculum efforts, including those related to drug prevention.
Encourage the local parent-school organization to conduct a program for parents on alcohol and other drug prevention education.
Invite parents to visit their children's classrooms and to participate in school activities so that they will know what their children are learning.


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