Yvonne's Trip to Adelaide and Melbourne, Australia
Arriving in Adelaide once I got over the weather, the change of time difference (8.30 hours!) and got to know the wonderful Australian people I settled into the Australian experience. People really do say g'day!
For the first week I was to deliver consultancy. Arriving at the hotel in Adelaide on the Friday before the consultancy was due to start, I went to visit the Oval where I would be taking part in a masterclass work shop day the week followng the consultancy. On arrival at the Oval the staff were getting ready to celebrate 40 years of Adelaide marathons. I got caught up a little and signed up for the 10K. It was such an experience. My goal was simply to complete it! Running round there were markers guide you at certain points but unfortunately sometimes they forget to tell you which way to go and once I had to stop because I was sure she was sending me the half marathon route. After that I really concentrated in order to get to the end! Thank you so much to those who donated, particularly with such short notice.
I initially met Angela Jolly, the CEO of the Schools Ministry Group. The SMG had organised my trip and we finalised the week ahead.
My first consultancy day was to take place in Mt Gambier, so we had to take a very small plane there.
Peter Skurry from SMG met and travelled with us to Mt Gambier. We then met the headteacher of Melaleuca Park primary school, the principal who had organised with SMG our visit to Mt Gambier.
The next day I delivered training to 45 teachers and TA's and the principal consultant of the school inprovement officers from the department of education on the Boxall profile. Some schools had been using the Boxall already but from the training they were able to get a much clearer understanding. I also learned a lot about them and the people in Australia.
Training day started at 8.30am sharp and finished at 4pm. A long day but very worthwhile. Even though some of the teachers had a two-hour drive home, they stayed to ask questions. Lynette had set up a nurture group in her school and had been informing other schools about nurture groups and the Boxall that showed an impact on the children in her school. Lynette had arranged an early morning meeting with key people to discuss the next steps for nurture in Mt Gambier.
I was very fortunate to be able to visit Lynette's school. The staff are very commited to their children and have a wonderful nurture room. They have gone on to extend the principles of nurture throughout the school.
Arriving back at Adelaide I caught up with Angela to discuss the next two days and visit the Oval to see where/what was happening.
The next two days I was based in the SMG office where I worked closely with the 'wellbeing classroom' team. These wonderful people were all great to work with. Day one was the Boxall. They are now able to ensure that the schools who are using the Boxall are doing it correctly to get the best results. Day 2 was embedding the six principles. As well as lots of work taking place there was lots of laughter too.
Monday 4 June was the big training day. I was delivering a masterclass on the six principles of nurture at the wellbeing lassroom conference. There was around 100 delegates, some from as far away as Queensland.
The wellbeing team spoke about the Kimochis (a cuddly toy resource) they use with children in their classroom. They are great and a superb tool to use for emotional literacy in school.
A long but very interesting day for me and I hope for all the delegates. I got to speak with some very motivated and passionate people who were already investigating the nurture principles and accessing our website. Once the conference was over, I travelled to Melbourne to Currajong School.
On day one we were going to complete the NNSP assessment as Jenine the headteacher had been in touch with me over the past 12 months since she had travelled to England to join the NNSP training in London. There are 48 schools attending her special schools for children exhibiting social emotional behavioural difficulties. I visited each classroom, observed lessons, interviewed children, staff and parents. I am very proud to assess the school after all their continuous hard work and dedication.
I had been emailed the previous week by some Australian schools and Jenine had given permissions for them to meet me at her school. It was great meeting with schools now being able to link up and learn from each other. Again it was a pleasure to play a part in joining up these schools and others. We have a network team in and around Melbourne who also got to see Janine's amazing school.
Friday afternoon I was able to present Janine, staff and pupils with their award... the very first school in Australia to achieve the National Nurturing Schools Award. It was wonderful for the children to be a part of this. One pupil said: "We need to really celebrate this. It's something special". It is and so are they.
I feel very priviledged to have undertaken this work, and been able to meet people so passionate and determined to make a difference to the future of children's lives.