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 CatholicCare Wilcannia-Forbes NSW 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 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. CatholicCare’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 playing games outside.
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 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.
Michael Browne is the Men and Family Worker who, with his colleague at the time, came up with the idea of a Dads day in the schools for children to show off their classroom and school to their dads. Michael has been facilitating this wonderful activity for the past seven years in the NSW Lachlan Shire area. Michael is a long-standing Men’s Worker and has worked with CatholicCare for fifteen years. He is very passionate about working with men and supporting them to be actively engaged and have healthy and nurturing relationships with their children.
Mark Braes is the Family Dispute Practitioner for the Broken Hill region. Mark has been with CatholicCare for two-and-half years. He comes with years of experience in Family Dispute Resolution and Family Law practice. Mark is also very passionate about supporting fathers to have healthy, nurturing relationships with their children. Mark is supporting Michael with his presentation as a teammate from the CCWF Family Relationship Services sector.