S4 & Your Family
Family Activities

Start Smart Stay Safe Family Activities include information on social and emotional development for children ages 5-12. These activities provide a list of ideas for fun things parents and children can do at home and in the community to build a sense of significance, success, self-awareness, and service (four cornerstones).

Activities are divided into two formats: a short, easy to use brochure and a longer handout with more activities included.  You can also print off a foldable version of the brochure for your family or school council members to keep on hand for easy reference.

Although the activities are separated by grades, pick a level that best suits your child’s needs and start today!

Kindergarten (Level 1)

Grade 1-2 (Level 2)

Grade 3-4 (Level 3)

Grade 5-6 (Level 4)

Book List

For Parents and Families 
Start Smart Stay Safe (S4) has created a list of reading materials for parents and families who are looking for more information on a range of topics important to children and families.

For Children
Children’s books recommended by S4 are meant to inspire confidence and resilience in children. Check out these ideas for books to read together with your children!


Your Child’s Development

Understanding typical stages of child development allows you to help your children be successful and build confidence as they get older. The links below list developmental milestones which provide information about children’s development at each stage. Select your child’s age to learn about what changes you can expect throughout their development.


Family Sessions

The Start Smart Stay Safe (S4) Family Sessions are workshops for parents facilitated by a police officer or teacher, which explore issues that impact children, families, and schools. These sessions provide parents with ideas to respond to these issues before they turn into real problems. Any of these sessions can be requested by parents, school council, or school staff at a participating S4 school. Connect with your school administration to request a Family Session.  A printable overview of the Family Sessions can be found HERE.

Did you miss the S4 Family Session at your school? You can find tip sheets, activities, and other information from each session here:

Making Healthy Choices – Unhealthy Influences and Stress 
This session explores some ways parents and other caring adults can help children learn healthy ways to handle stress and difficult situations. Parents can help children learn to listen to their own feelings and know how to make good choices.

 Safety Through Community Involvement – “Stranger Danger” and Community Safety 
This session looks at ways for parents to support children in recognizing and responding to unsettling feelings to be safe in the community, and also looks at what parents and other community members can do to take part in keeping their communities safe.

Building Healthy Relationships – Negative Peer Influences, “Gangs” 
This session explores some ways that parents and caring adults can model positive relationships, so children learn to meet their need for belonging and excitement through healthy relationships and don’t become involved with unhealthy peer groups.

 Effective Communication Strategies – “Bullying” 
This session outlines strategies for supporting children to use their skills to deal with disagreements appropriately by using respectful communication, listening, and applying conflict resolution skills.

Digital Citizenship – Internet “Bullying”
This session explores ways to establish boundaries with children around acceptable use and time spent online and with technology, so that children learn how they can stay safe on-line.

Community Safety and Belonging – Peer Pressure 
This session looks at ways parents can help children develop skills to make healthy choices and to stand up for their values and beliefs, without having to compromise their sense of belonging.

Helping You Grow

In order for children to grow up healthy and safe, they need positive messages so that they develop the skills and tools to make healthy choices. You may find the following additional resources helpful as you find new ways to learn as a family:

Family Engagement

Family Engagement means that a family is actively involved in their child’s learning whether that be a school event, coordinating a family session or meeting other families at the school.

As part of S4, we value the role that families play in children’s education.

The resources listed below cover a variety of topics specifically compiled to engage families and work together to keep our community safe.

Frequently Asked Questions Around Family Engagement in S4

Family Engagement Manual:
Here, we have compiled information and strategies to support family engagement as part of S4. Use these resources to develop your own strategies at your school to promote families’ meaningful participation in S4 to create common language and extend learning into the school community as we all work together to keep our community safe.

1. Introduction

a. Family Engagement – Introduction, Framework
b. Promoting Resilience
c. Strengths-Based Filter
d. What is Family Engagement in S4?
e. S4 Framework for Family Engagement

2. Importance of Family Involvement

a. Actions Families Can Take to Help Their Children Succeed in School
b. Benefits of Family Involvement to the School Community
c. Benefits to the school
d. Importance of Family Involvement in Children’s Learning

3.  A Welcoming School Environment

a. Engaging Diverse Families
b. Feedback Box
c. Reaching out to Diverse Populations
d. Resources for Families
e. Setting up a Family Resource Library
f. Setting up a Family Space in Schools

4. Involving Families in Schools

a. 7 Steps for Building an Engaged Community
b. Benefits of Volunteering
c. Benefits to the Community
d. Building Blocks for Family Volunteering
e. Building Social Capital
f. Communication in Schools
g. Strategies for Increasing Volunteerism

5. School Champion Team

a. S4 Family Champion
b. Getting Started – Setting up your Family Champion Team

6. Community Resources

a. Engaging Community Supports

7. Family Activities (Events Appendix)

a. Back to School Night, Open House
b. Book Reviews and Book Clubs
c. Collective Kitchens
d. Conversation Cafés
e. Digital Storytelling
f. Family Celebration, Open House
g. Food and Fitness Fair
h. Giving Voice to Photos
i.  Mother Language Day Celebration
j. Movie Conversation Cafes
k. Open Space Conversations
l. Potluck
m. Street Stall
n. Student and Guest Speaker Night

Bounce! S4 Board Game

“Bounce!” is a cooperative board game based on Start Smart Stay Safe (S4) Resources. When families live, work, and play together as a team, they build resilience. This board game encourages families to unplug and sit together around the table, discussing, playing, laughing, and making decisions together.

In Bounce: Start Smart Stay Safe Family Board Game, each player takes on the role of a child facing day-to-day challenges. Players are all on the same team, representing a community. In order to complete the game, everyone must work collaboratively – which means together as a team.

To play “Bounce!” contact your school library for a copy or your School Resource Officer.

Click HERE to see a student made video on how to play the game.


Community Supports

Use this Visual Directory to point you in the direction of extra support services throughout Calgary that can help meet you and your family’s needs.

Family Videos

Check out these quick videos to learn more about the philosophies of S4! Keep in mind, these videos show one artists’ representation of these concepts. The content in the videos was designed to be applicable to all families – and they are meant to be inclusive and represent all people! We hope you enjoy them, and find them a fun and unique way to learn about S4!


Helpful Hints

Start Smart Stay Safe (S4) Tip Sheets offer quick information for families on a variety of topics to promote well-being in children and families. Each Tip Sheet shares key points from research-based information about healthy child and family development, and offers practical suggestions on how to include these ideas into your daily life.

Focused on Kindergarten:

All Ages:

More About S4

What does it mean to be Strengths Based?

Watch Video

Understanding Resilience

Watch Video