Thinking outside the box to support a child’s social development

Many participants in adult learning programs attend with their pre-school children. This option is usually most beneficial to adult learners. However, in one notable case, this provided an opportunity for a child attending the on site primary school to further develop their social skills.

Our Place Community Facilitators work closely with all on site adult learning programs. Through this work, one Community Facilitator noticed a curious primary school student regularly looking through the window into one of the adult learning programs. When the curious child was asked by the Community Facilitator what they were fascinated by and their reasons for visiting, the child explained they were very interested in the pre-schoolers that were in the class with their parent. The child went on to express that they liked watching the children play and indicated they would like to join in.

Considering this information, the Community Facilitator asked if the child would like to come into the classroom and say a quick hello to the children. A big smile flashed across the child’s face, and they eagerly accepted the invitation. Seeing the joy on this child’s face led the Community Facilitator to think more deeply about this situation, which then led to having a conversation with the child’s teacher.

From a brief conversation with the teacher, the Community Facilitator learnt that this child would benefit greatly from regular interactions such as this. After the teacher spoke with the child’s parents, all agreed that working together to support the child to regularly attend the adult learning class to play with the preschool children would be highly beneficial for the child’s social development. From here, the Community Facilitator then worked with the child’s teacher and the adult education class to facilitate this opportunity.

After working out the logistics, this child was able to attend the adult learning class one period per week to play with the preschool children. This opportunity has resulted in the child stating that they feel extremely special and that they look forward to coming each week. This opportunity also allows the child to practise their social skills and increase their confidence.

Aligning with the Our Place Approach

This is one example of the added benefits of having the Our Place approach on site and demonstrates how new possibilities can occur when co-located services collaborate. By acting as the role of ‘The Glue’ Community facilitators are able to connect and link people, which in this case was a student, for the benefit of many.

This example also relates directly to the Our Place value of leadership, specifically regarding being courageous, offering an idea ‘outside the box’ and being inclusive and caring. This demonstration of leadership has extended to contributing to a child feeling more connected to their school.

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