Our Stories

 

SEPTEMBER 2016

 

Science Kids

Bathgate Park and Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Otepoti have successfully completed Science Kids for Term 3. The resiliency results for each school are interesting. The students are asked at the start of the programme, halfway through the programme, and at the end of the programme ‘How you feel about your learning in Science’. All the students at Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Otepoti had an increase from start to finish on their score – an average shift of 11.5 (on a scale of 40). At Bathgate Park, 63% of the students had a positive shift from start to finish on their score. The feedback from parents at both schools was very positive. For example; ‘They were so excited to talk about their experiments around the kai table’. ‘Really awesome, relating experiments to things that happen outside in nature’.

 

Brief Drink Driving Programme (Gore Probation):

This was a very responsive group. They showed considerable interest in spending time on the driving simulator. This may be because there were 3 men under 20 years of age in the group. They found things on the simulator our tutor did not know were there! There was very good participation in the board and card games. The group also had a lot of fun with the "Booze Goggles" and doing the obstacle course.

 

Incredible Years Programme

The programme is going well, with a very engaged group of parents who are participating enthusiastically in group discussions and activities. We have a focus on expressing ourselves positively, looking for the good things and turning our instructions from a negative command to a positive one. For example, instead of saying ‘don’t run in the house’, one parent found that using the positive alternative of ‘please walk inside’ was much more effective. Looking for positive behaviours to praise, such as sharing or playing quietly, helped the parent see that her children were doing a lot of good things and reduced the need to correct them. Another parent said that her son wouldn’t accept praise, even when he had done something well. After our session on Effective Praise and Encouragement, she found that when she ‘labelled’ the praise, that is, let him know exactly what it was that she liked about what he was doing, he really enjoyed the attention and encouragement. It’s great to hear parents telling us how well their children have responded to attention, encouragement and reward programmes such as sticker charts to make progress and learn new skills. One parent said that her son had really struggled with his toilet training until she put in place a consistent reward programme, and he had now had a whole week dry.

 

Client Support

We have been able to support a mum who has not had the care of her child from a very young age come to terms with her now teenager, wanting to be adopted by her foster parents who she has lived with for most of her life. This mum’s own life, from a very young age, has been traumatic and continues to impact on her today. Initially she was resistant to the request by the foster parents. She felt powerless and that things were ‘out of her hands’. She didn’t want her child thinking she didn’t want her, and she didn’t want to relinquish her rights as the child’s biological mum by agreeing to the adoption. She struggled with her own thoughts and feelings of how throughout her life, systems and people had failed her, and now the legal request for her child to be adopted was another ‘kick in the teeth’. The strength this mum had was in acknowledging the good care the foster parents were taking of her child and that they provided this when she couldn’t. She was clear she wanted the best for her child but she didn’t want to lose her. She showed insight as she was able to talk about the possible consequences if she was or was not to sign the applications in terms of a relationship with her child in the future as did not want her child to resent her. While the mum fought with her emotions and after discussions she was able to reframe the situation to make sense for her. She was able to see that she was a good mum in allowing someone to take care of her child when she couldn’t, and that she was also a good mum in granting her child a very special request – which was to be adopted by her foster parents. So she agreed to sign the adoption papers and also wrote a letter to her child letting her know why she agreed with her child’s request. This was a big decision in this mum’s life and one that caused her great upset. She is happy with her decision not to fight the adoption and looks forward to the day her child comes to her wanting to know her identity. Her decision has also paved a new relationship between herself and the foster parents, and they are happy to keep in touch with her over time.

 

Early Years Hub

We are thrilled to welcome the International playgroup to the Hub this month. They are supported by the Dunedin Multi-Ethnic Council and the Ministry of Education. The Catholic Social Services Birth Support Group came for a tour and a look at the ‘free to good home’ tables and chose a Hub Welcome Pack and quilt to take home. The cooking group hosted 6 Dietetic students from the Otago University and got them all making healthy and nutritious lunchbox fillers. The B4 School checks will be trialed next month on an evening and Saturday morning. Many thanks to the St Kilda Rotary who came and covered up the gap under the fence in the playground and installed a plaque highlighting their on-going commitment to our playground.

 

Take 10 Streets

The last few weeks for the Take 10 Streets Project has been busy with meeting residents of the area despite the unpredictable weather, understandably, if it is cold and windy they do not want to open the door. The type of resident has been wide and varied, from young, single parents, young families, someone on home detention, the elderly, some older families too; also a fairly high percentage of people who have lived in the South Dunedin area for a long time or returning from time away. The prospect of a library coming into the area has caused quite a buzz of excitement to all. Dawn has been engaging with many of the residents who had previously expressed the need for a library as part of their desire for South Dunedin in conversations with her. She was working with them to encourage them to attend the council consultation meetings, to connect people who had similar ideas and views around the library to head together to the meetings, and to ensure they had access to all the council information before the meetings.

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