Intensive Numeracy & Literacy (Otago Correction Facility)
I have changed the way I finish my courses recently, having more of an exit interview to find out the student’s aims and thoughts for what to do next. It has been very gratifying that they are asking what courses or opportunities there are that we offer as they are enjoying the Methodist way of offering education. This is tying in with the new forms we are now supplying to OCF to help add to the learner pathways for a better outcome from the time spent in prison for the men we work with.
One of my recent grads started the class very timidly. He would have been about the youngest in the group, and very quiet. He was unwilling to say when he needed help and would sit quietly with a look of desperation on his face. By fostering an atmosphere of support and removing stigma, he came to realise that there was no issue in asking for help if he didn’t understand something. He grew in confidence and has completed the course, now looking for further education opportunities in the prison environment to increase his options going forward.
To mark the end of the term and another round of Science Kids for both Carisbrook and Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Otepoti the children from each school had a shared kai with their family/whānau. This final session enabled the kids to share the experiments that they had been practicing, and they are encouraged to lead the experiments themselves whilst getting their family/whānau to join in.
On Tuesdays Steph has been working with Emily from the Museum with Carisbrook School. They had an awesome family turn out given that there were only 5 children attending on the day, it included parents, brothers, sisters and grandmas who came along to support, all very interested in what the kids have been learning! It was a big success, the children really enjoyed receiving their certificates and the kai too!
On Mondays Steph has been working with Kate from the Museum and Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Otepoti. Kate is fluent in te reo, and has translated the Science Kids programme into te reo for Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Otepoti. On their final museum visit to the conservation lab the children were very respectful and interested in what they were shown. To thank the female conservators they performed a beautiful waiata which was about the strength and beauty of women, such a cool way to express their thanks.
On their final session at school the children’s whānau came along. The children also performed a waiata for Kate and Steph to thank them for the experience and our time.
Client Support Worker
Aroha* was struggling with the support she was providing for her teenage niece. Her niece was a bright girl who was a year ahead of her peers in her schooling. For the last several months her niece had become rebellious and this was noted by the school and her behaviour at home had also become unmanageable i.e., not listening to Dad, jumping out the window and staying at her boyfriend’s house. Aroha was unsure of where this behaviour was coming from and why. Together with the school, Aroha was trying to get to the bottom of what was happening for her niece. The school had talked about involving Oranga Tamariki. Other services had become involved and her niece remained defiant to any processes that were suggested to her. The school had begun to look at other schooling options for her and Aroha felt they had put her in the ‘too hard basket’. Aroha’s niece then began to turn on her and this caused Aroha to become angry, frustrated and upset with her niece.
We had a discussion about her brother’s parenting and whether her niece, at the age of 15, knew right from wrong. Aroha disclosed her brother (single parent) was a good parent and worked hard to provide for his daughter. He too was unsure where the behaviour was coming from as she was usually a good girl. Aroha felt the more they tried to put boundaries and consequences in place for her niece, the more resistant and defiant she became.
We talked about the stress they were going through as they tried to guide her niece back onto the right path. I encouraged my client by reframing the situation - talk to her brother to remind him that he has installed good values in his daughter, that she knows right from wrong and to trust in his parenting so far. We spoke of age appropriateness and teenage behaviours as they try to make sense of their worlds – and giving teenagers a space to be able do this safely. Trusting that his parenting has enabled his daughter to have the skills to negotiate her world and allowing her niece to safely become responsible for the decisions she makes and letting her know he is there for her. Aroha was enlightened by this discussion and she felt maybe they had been looking at the situation from the wrong angle. With this perspective she was eager to talk to her brother and try a new approach.
At the next home visit my client was very thankful. She informed me she had told her brother about our conversation and reinforced with him that he is a good parent and he has taught his daughter well. She encouraged him to have faith in his parenting and to trust his daughter has the skills to negotiate her world. Allowing her to become responsible and giving her space to show she can do it. Aroha said this discussion with her brother was an emotional one as he felt, up until that point, a failure as a parent. He then went to his daughter where they had an open discussion. He let her know that she knows right from wrong and that he trusts her to make the right decisions, and that he believes in her.
Aroha says since this talk her niece has been awesome. She is happy, helpful and communicating with everyone positively. She’s not jumping out windows and is refocusing on her school work. Aroha says she is a completely different girl now and the stresses and behaviours felt before have gone.
Client Support Worker (ECE)
Work with one particular client has come to a successful conclusion. This client was facing the possibility of becoming homeless, which led to him being referred to the Client Support Service. We identified this client’s preferences and needs, and supported him in identifying options which could meet these. We also liaised with his wider whānau, with the final result being that this client will be moving closer to whānau support.
Early Years Hub: The Wild Things Multi Ethnic playgroup had a wonderful celebration for Eid al Fitr. This event marks the start of Shawwal which is a time of feasting and celebration that comes at the end of Ramadan. There were approximately 100 whānau at the Hub and everyone had a wonderful evening.
An update from our last report: as reported we had given away all our stocks of blankets and were unable to continue to assist those who were looking for warm bedding. Our heartfelt thanks to the Mornington Methodist Church congregation and friends (even as far away as the North Island) for their incredible generosity in donating more blankets and warm bedding so more families can stay warm.
With the ENGAGE trial at its half way point, teachers can see the benefits to having this as part of our little Citizens planning especially when working with smaller groups of children who need support with inhibitory control, concentration and memory. The smaller groups of about 10 or less provide those who find it difficult to engage more likely to be able to grow and hold their attention for longer over a larger group with more distractions and longer waiting times. It is definitely going to be something we will continue to work with, with some adaptations to support those children in need of this skill development.