+ What is resilience?
We define resilience as 'responding with confidence to challenges'. When speaking with children we talk about 'feeling OK dealing with tricky stuff'. For us, resilience isn’t just about ‘bouncing back’ to the same state you were in before - it’s about taking the opportunity to ‘bounce forward’ to an even stronger state.
+ WHY DO MY CHILDREN NEED TO BE RESILIENT?
Resilient children tend to do better in life, and to be physically and mentally healthier. They are also likelier to be happier. The process of building resilience is not reserved for those experiencing significant challenges, it is needed by and available to everyone.
+ CAN RESILIENCE BE BUILT?
Yes, absolutely! Resilience has now been broken down into a set of skills that can be taught. That said, there are so many different factors that influence a child’s resilience that teaching these skills alone is unlikely to be enough. Some of these factors include a child’s make-up, their family circumstances, parents, school, community, the nature of the challenges they are facing and more. It’s the nature of each of these factors and they way they all work together that is most likely to shift the dial.
+ SURELY RESILIENCE IS BUILT THROUGH LIFE EXPERIENCE?
It most definitely is. However, for many children this isn't enough, and they either come unstuck when a new and different challenge comes their way, or they go through life unaware that there might be an alternative way of dealing with a situation. This is why proactively teaching these skills from an early age can be so powerful.
+ THIS ALL SOUNDS GREAT, BUT WE'RE JUST TOO BUSY
This is exactly the reason your children should take part in our program! In an increasingly busy world, being able to thrive when faced with constant ‘busyness’ is a critical skill. Resilient children get more out of school, sport, dance and other extra-curricular activities and you'll probably find that home life is a lot calmer as your children learn to better manage their emotions.
There is a strong focus placed these days on children's physical and academic development - what about their mental development?
+ HOW CREATIVE ARE YOUR WORKSHOPS?
The work we do with children is highly creative, our program also leads to highly creative outcomes for children.
We use a number of creative modalities to build children's resilience, including art, craft, drama, storytelling and games. Many of our coaches also have a creative background, e.g. we employ storytellers, art therapists, dramatherapists, creative therapists and more.
Creativity is arguably the most important outcome from our program as responding resiliently to life's challenges requires children to experiment with and apply new and different tools and strategies - relying on the tried and tested is no longer enough.
Some of the creative outcomes parents see in their children is an ability to creatively express themselves, e.g. by no longer relying solely on the spoken word; to use a range of different approaches to solving problems; to become more empathetic, leading to a more sensitive appreciation of the arts; and to feel more confident, leading to them no longer feeling a need to conform to peer pressure and social norms. And more!
In our workshops, camps, incursions and 1-1 coaching sessions we are creating a safe space for children where they can experiment with the tools and strategies we are teaching - this in itself is a wholly creative process.
+ WHAT DO YOU DO IN YOUR CHILDREN’S WORKSHOPS?
Our workshops are all play-based. We start each workshop with a ‘check-in’. We use the same check-in at each workshop to help children feel comfortable and safe through ritual and routine.
We then play a game to help children relax and ease into the workshop. We then launch into a main activity. The game and main activity take up the bulk of the session and are always aligned to an overarching learning outcome. We then settle into a relaxation and finally a ‘check-out’ activity. Our ‘check-out’ activity is also the same each week.
Whilst this all sounds very structured and linear, in real life it often doesn’t look like this as we flex our content and approach to meet the unique needs of the group we are working with and the mood in the room. We also do a lot of ‘live’, ‘in the moment’ resilience coaching where we tackle head-on issues that come up in our workshops.
+ SHOULD MY CHILD ATTEND A WORKSHOP OR 1-1 CHILD COACHING?
This is a tricky one and we would always recommend you give us a call to talk this through if you aren’t sure. Our 1-1 child coaching works well for children who have something quite specific they would like to work on as we create a bespoke coaching program just for them. It can also work well for older children who may not feel comfortable talking about what’s going on for them in front of their peers and for children who don't respond well in group setting. Children also do 1-1 coaching with us when their schedule doesn’t allow them to come to our workshops.
Our workshops work well for children who would benefit from practising their social and emotional skills in a safe social setting. They are also great for kids who would benefit from building peer relationships with a new group of children and from realising that they are not alone in what they are going through. Often children attend both 1-1 coaching and workshops, sometimes concurrently and other times sequentially.
+ HOW DO YOUR TERM-TIME WORKSHOPS DIFFER FROM YOUR HOLIDAY CAMPS?
The format, structure, style and learning outcomes for both sets of workshops is similar. However, there are some key differences. Our holiday camps are larger in size and there are two coaches. This allows us to break the children up into smaller groups for certain activities.
The content in our holiday camps is also different. This means that children can attend our holiday who attend our term-time workshops and not feel they are repeating games and activities. We also often have a whole of group activity in our holiday camps, which provides great opportunities for ‘live’, ‘in the moment’ resilience coaching and social and emotional learning.
+ WHAT IS THE EVIDENCE SUPPORTING THE PROGRAM?
The program is founded upon a strong evidence base. Extensive research has been conducted and a framework has been developed that the program is based upon. The science underpinning the program includes positive psychology, cognitive and behavioural therapies, the growth mindset and mindfulness. It also includes self-regulation, perseverence, self-esteem, hope and attachment theories.
+ HOW IS THE PROGRAM STRUCTURED?
Our program is based on our Resilience Framework, and the behaviours of a ‘Resilient Child’ and a ‘Parent Resilience Coach’. We focus on developing these behaviours in our workshops, camps, incursions, coaching sessions and presentations.
Our children’s content is held together by a range of professionally crafted stories and metaphors that frame the work we are doing. Our content is also framed by the key overarching challenges that children and parents tell us about. These include friendship, confidence, fear, worry, stress and emotions.
This is the starting point for a range of fun and play-based games and activities that translates the behaviours in the Resilience Framework and explores the key challenges.
Our parent coaching and educator professional development is fully integrated with what we teach children leading to whole of family and whole of school resilience building.
+ WHAT OUTCOMES WILL MY CHILDREN SEE FROM THE PROGRAM?
This depends on a variety of factors, including how long they are with us for, the extent to which they engage with the program and you are able to support the program at home, the challenges they are currently experiencing and the impact other influencing factors have on them whilst they are with us, e.g. family circumstances - to name a few!
Parents tell us that they have seen improvements in their children’s resilience as a result of attending the program. This ranges from children talking about their feelings more, to there being fewer meltdowns at home, lower levels of social anxiety and greater comfort stepping up and putting themselves into challenging situations.
Children also tell us that they feel better as a result of attending the program, with 76% of children attending our extra-curricular workshops telling us they feel better or significantly better as a result of attending.
Our program is part of a broad process of developing critical life skills that can enable children to grow from and react more positively to the challenges they experience. This is not a quick or simple process and the changes parents see are often small and incremental. But this is a process that can be strengthened through participation in this program.
+ WHAT ROLE DO YOU SEE PARENTS PLAYING?
Parents play a critical role in supporting the work we are doing with their children and the more engaged parents are the better the learning outcomes we are able to achieve.
Ideally, parents will beome proactively involved in the program, either by attending a parent coaching program, a parent presentation or a parent briefing.
We encourage parents to check in with their child's teacher where we are running incursions, and with their child’s Resilience Coach where they are attending workshops or doing 1-1 coaching. Our coaches are always happy to speak with parents to share insights relating to their children and tools and strategies for supporting the learning at home.
Before attending workshops or 1-1 coaching, we also encourage parents to speak to their children about the program, letting them know why they are attending and what they might hope to get out of it.
+ WHY DO YOU RUN SEPARATE WORKSHOPS FOR K-3 AND 3-6?
Children in these different age groups often present with similar challenges and enjoy the same types of games and activities. Younger children enjoy games that allow them to use their whole bodies to learn. Older children are starting to prepare for high school. They are exposed to more technology and are beginning to experience changes in their bodies as they approach adolescence. Whilst they too enjoy playful games they are much more able to engage in a discussion about key topics than the younger groups.
The cutoff between the younger and older workshops is often blurred, and we will often see older, more mature year 2 children attend our older workshops, and year 3 children attend our younger workshops - particularly where there is a group of older children, or where they have a younger sibling attending as well.
+ MY CHILD CAN'T TELL ME WHAT S/HE LEARNED WITH THEIR COACH. SHOULD I BE CONCERNED?
Absolutely not! Our workshops are play-based. This means that whilst we explain what we are doing with children and why for the most part their learning is experiential. As a result your child may not be able to articulate exactly what they have learned, and how they are becoming more resilient. This doesn’t mean they won’t be able to draw upon the skills they have learned when they need them.
Feel free to speak with your child's Resilience Coach, or with their teacher, to find out more. They will be more than happy to talk about what they learned and explain how what they did helps build their resilience.
+ HOW LONG BEFORE I START TO SEE A DIFFERENCE?
This depends on a range of factors, including the nature of the child, the extent to which they engage with the program, the degree to which the program is supported at home, the challenges they are currently experiencing and the impact other influencing factors have on them whilst they are with us, e.g. family circumstances - to name a few!
Some parents tell us they see a change straight away, others tell us it takes a while. Some tell us the changes are big and obvious, others that they are small and incremental.
This is a social and emotional program and so remember also that your child may be testing out their new skills at school. They may also be internalising the application of what the learned, e.g. it may not be visible to a parent that their child is practising a mindfulness meditation before they go to sleep.
Some changes are also marked by what parents don't see as opposed to what they do see, e.g. there may be fewer emotional meltdowns or temper tantrums.
Building resilience is like any other skill - practice makes progress. Talk to your child's Resilience Coach or teacher if you would like any further information about the changes you might expect to see in your child.
+ HOW DO YOU RESPOND TO EACH CHILD'S SPECIFIC NEEDS?
We are only able to respond to a child’s specific needs in a 1-1 coaching context, and not in our workshops or camps. In our workshops and camps we need to meet the needs of all the children we are working with and so if your child does have something specific that they would like to work through we would suggest they attend 1-1 coaching, or therapy, instead.
Whilst we are a fully inclusive organisation, it is important that the children who attend our workshops and camps are able to work well as part of a group. If not, they may struggle to engage with the work we are doing and we may find it difficult to meet their needs. If you are in any doubt, please give us a call before enrolling them.
+ DO GROUP WORKSHOPS/CAMPS WORK WELL FOR ALL CHILDREN?
Not always. To gain the most from the group process, children need to be able to work well as part of a group. They need to be able to take instructions from an adult and be able to self-regulate. Our focus needs to be on helping all the children in the group strengthen their resilience and if a child is overly disruptive and struggling to engage, or if a child requires too much 1-1 attention, it can prevent the group process from working. In such an instance we would suggest that 1-1 coaching might be a better solution. Alternatively, you may want to speak to your GP and seek a referral to a health professional.
+ DO YOU OFFER TRIAL CLASSES FOR YOUR WORKSHOPS?
We are happy to offer trial classes where our workshops aren't sold out. Please contact us before the first workshop and we will let you know if this is possible. Unfortunately we aren't able to hold spots for children who will be trialling our workshops.
We only do trials in the first 3 weeks of each term - we place a strong focus on creating a safe space for children where they can experiment with the tools and strategies we are teaching them and we find this process is disrupted if there is too much movement between groups.
+ MY CHILD IS IN KINDERGARTEN - IS S/HE TOO YOUNG FOR YOUR WORKSHOPS/CAMPS?
There is no yes or no answer to this, it really depends on your child and a range of other factors. So, we would suggest that you reach out to us so that we can discuss this with you.
Our program is designed to appeal to Kindergarten children just as much as it is to older children. It is very popular amongst Kindergarten children, however some do respond better to our workshops and camps than others. Those who respond better are typically those who have been attending a pre-school or long day care, who have experience taking instructions from an adult and working as part of a group and who don't have too much else on in terms of extra-curricular activities during the week, however there are no hard and fast rules.
+ WILL MY CHILD ALWAYS HAVE THE SAME RESILIENCE COACH?
Your child will usually have the same Resilience Coach on a weekly basis. We do try and ensure continuity of coaches on a termly basis, however we are unable to guarantee this. Where new coaches are introduced to a group we always ensure a full handover takes place. We also see such situations as 'resilience building' for children - it is beneficial for them to build relationships with new coaches and to experience being taught these skills by someone new.
+ MY CHILD IS ALREADY RESILIENT - IS THIS THE PROGRAM FOR THEM?
Our program is for everyday children experiencing everyday challenges. It's true that some children are more predisposed to resilience than others, but this doesn't mean that they don't have more to learn. And just because someone has responded resiliently to one situation doesn't mean they will do so again. Sometimes kids don't know how they are resilient - teaching them this can help them know what to do when they experience something new.
+ MY CHILD IS EXPERIENCING SOME BIG ISSUES AT THE MOMENT. CAN YOU HELP?
Our program is for everyday children experiencing everyday challenges. We are inclusive and want to help as many children as possible, but where children are experiencing big issues it may be more appropriate for them to see a mental health professional. Parents can speak to their GP for advice.
+ ARE YOU LOOKING TO CHANGE CHILDREN THROUGH YOUR PROGRAM?
Absolutely not! This could not be further from what we are trying to achieve. We are simply giving children the skills they need to respond with confidence to the challenges that will inevitably come their way. This won't change them as a person, it will just mean they are better equipped to handle life's tricky stuff. In building children's confidence they are more likely to be able to discover who they really are
+ WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE A ‘PARENT RESILIENCE COACH’?
This means adapting your parenting style such that your overall approach to parenting is one that involves you focusing on how you can build your child’s resilience. This is a core part of being a parent, but we have split this part of the parenting role out as our current cultural context is not one that encourages parents to do what is required to do this.
+ WHAT IF I CAN'T MAKE ONE OF MY GROUP PARENT COACHING SESSIONS?
In this instance we will do what we can to bring you up to speed on what you missed during the following sessions. However, we will only ever be able to give you a high level overview so an alternative is for you to purchase one of our one-off 'top-up' sessions - which you are more than welcome to share with anyone else who may have missed a session. This will give you a 1-1 meeting with your Resilience Coach, either face to face or online, where your coach will bring you up to speed on what you missed.