2B Key transition points in the schooling years
Dads In School
This presentation will describe the journey of the ‘Dads in School’ program, the design and development of the model, its delivery, its impacts and how it has triggered an increasing demand by primary schools that can see its benefits. The presentation will also explore opportunities to further develop and grow this very successful model.
‘Dads In School’ was developed by CentaCare Wilcannia-Forbes in response to a request from a school about activities for fathers and children in schools. ‘Dads In School’ is delivered in a school setting in an effort to create and foster partnerships between families and schools in their community. ‘Dads In School’ provides a special opportunity for fathers, grandfathers and significant male figures in children’s lives to engage with their child’s school.
Dads In School activities are facilitated by trained Men and Family Workers. The activity is open to Kindergarten children and their father, grandfather or other significant male figure in their lives. Children and family member are given the opportunity to engage in one on one, small and large group activities. CentaCare’s ‘Dads In School’ is child-centred while providing opportunity for parent-child interaction.
‘Dads In School’ activities run for the duration of two hours allowing for indoor and outdoor interaction finishing off with a shared lunch. Kindergarten children invite their Dad, Uncle, Granddad or significant male figure in their lives to their school for a fun learning day. On the day fathers spend time with their children in their classroom where they have the opportunity in a round robin circuit to sit and help or watch their child either read, write, paint or colour-in. The class also spend time outside to have some games with the fathers .
As a result of families’ participation in ‘Dads In School’ there has been evidence of:
- Enhanced relationships between fathers and their children.
- Increased engagement between fathers with their children’s school and be involved in their education.
- Increased awareness of the importance of ‘fathers’ in children’s lives.
- Improved sense of belonging in school environment.
‘Dads in School’ is an example of the development support and coordination of cross-sectoral efforts between the NGO sector and Education.
Louise Heffernan is the Program Manager for Family Relationship Services with CentaCare Wilcannia-Forbes. She is based in Broken Hill and supports a team of Men and Family Workers whose work is focused on involving men in their children’s lives. Dads in School is one of the many projects that Louise has developed together with her team. She is very passionate about supporting men in their role as fathers and involving fathers in all aspects of their children’s lives, in particular through enabling positive relationships with schools.