PARENTS from the Kiama area seeking to initiate conversations with their primary school-aged children about some tricky topics will receive help from upcoming workshops.
In term 3 this year, Kiama Public School will be hosting two programs but primary-school aged children from any school are welcome.
Inter-Relate will take place at 6pm on Tuesday, August 5, featuring two one-hour seminars - one on “Where did I come from?” (suitable for years 3-6) and the other on “Preparing for Puberty” (years 5-6).
Parents and children attend together.
The second program is solely for girls in years 5 and 6.
Presented by Enlighten Education, The Butterfly Effect is a one-day workshop on Sunday, July 27 from 9am-3pm.
It tackles areas such as friendships, body image, peer pressure, ways to avoid crutches like drugs, alcohol and cigarettes throughout teenage years, as well as empowering girls about their own futures.
Inter-relate runs every second year, while The Butterfly Effect is a new program at Kiama.
Kiama Public P&C vice-president Belinda Murphy has had three children attend the school; her daughter Emma is in year 5.
She said the sessions had a positive effect on her older children.
“It’s helping girls think for themselves, be understanding, organised, be aware of social media and love who they are,” she said.
“Inter-Relate is just a foundation, and an opening for parents to talk with their kids about subjects that can be tricky to approach.
“Parents can then continue the conversation.”
Mrs Murphy said The Butterfly Effect would help young female students make the transition to high school.
“It makes them aware of media coverage, and that what they see in magazines is not always true,” she said.
“It sends positive messages regarding self-esteem, builds confidence in girls; and that lesson that it’s okay to be who you are, that not everyone has to be the same.”
Kiama P&C president Amanda Koorey said they would be excellent ice-breakers to help parents start conversations with their kids about issues such as puberty, body image and sex.
‘‘These days, kids are exposed to a lot of conflicting information through social media – these programs will help them get the right information in a positive setting,’’ she said.
Enlighten Education CEO and former high school teacher Dannielle Miller designed The Butterfly Effect program.
She said while initially intended for female high school students, they had received feedback requesting help for primary school-aged students.
Ms Miller said issues of self-esteem were occurring at a younger age, and the program aimed to proactively address them.
“Girls as young as eight and ten are experiencing body image doubt,’’ she said. “This is about wanting to tackle it before it’s entrenched… Giving girls the skills at the start of puberty to understand what’s happening to their bodies, make good decisions, choosing friends and maintaining healthy relationships.
“Make decisions regarding understanding how the media will market towards them as young women, and images of beauty they will be presented with.”
Ms Miller said such sessions typically had a sizeable impact on communities like Kiama.
“It’s funny and engaging, and the presenters act as positive role models.
“You don’t see a lot of positive role models aimed at young women.”
Both programs have a cost and as they are also open to other schools to attend.
Phone the school on 42321471 for more information or bookings.