Education Initiatives in Fostering First
Transition to Secondary School Programme – There was lovely engagement in 2022 with the Transition to Secondary School programme from both carers and young people. We met the 6th class students in person and together created a time capsule of hopes and dreams for their next year in secondary school and had a fun morning bowling to get to know the young people. This group continued to get together during their 1st year of secondary school. There was good feedback around the Transition to secondary toolkit for young people from both carers and young people.
Leaving Cert Mindfulness Workshop was offered to students in 5th year and above (Leaving Cycle) to look at ways to support them through the Leaving Cert and creating good self-care habits into adulthood. The workshop looked at understanding stress and how it affects people personally, how stress and anxiety affect our brains, what are their stress triggers, what is mindfulness and how to bring self-care practices into everyday life. All students in 5th and 6th year received the Mindfulness Toolkit to accompany the workshop.
The Skills Workshop was delivered to young people over 16 attending the Independence Retreat in August 2022. The Skills workshop covered educational needs post 16, understanding banking, bills and medical needs, managing college and leaving care.
Mindfulness Summer Camps – The Summer saw 2 camps delivered to children aged between 4 and 9 years. Each camp was over two days. The programme focused on understanding feelings and emotions visiting and learning ways to manage those big feelings. The 2 days consisted of yoga, meditation, craft and story times. The participating children had a great time and really enjoyed the camps. It has been proven that mindfulness and listening to stories helps to repair a child’s brain from the impacts of trauma. The Education Service will continue to develop mindfulness camps and deliver story time going forward.
Trauma Training for Schools – The Trauma and Attachment in Schools training for schools was delivered to a primary school in the West of Ireland with excellent feedback. The school supports two children with complex trauma needs and embraced the support this training has to offer. The workshop aims to assist schools tounderstand how trauma and attachment impacts a child’s development and learning capacity. It offers insight into how to implement trauma informed practice in to daily teaching and the supports schools can adopt. The training includes PACE approaches and supports many of the individual needs of children and young people.
The Trauma and Attachment training for schools was developed following analysis of the primary school STEN test results. Analysis of the STEN tests continued in to 2022 with results continuing similar to 2021. Whilst there was a larger cohort of children assessed, those children doing well, continued to do well but those children finding Maths and English challenging continued to show similar results. There was however double the amount of children in Maths in the average achievement ability but a 25% increase in children now below average in English. Overall, 44% of children are below average in Maths and English. By working with both carers and primary schools on the impacts of trauma, the Education Service is looking to work on both early interventions and reacting to the needs of the children with the challenges of the school environment.
The Education Service throughout 2022 continued to have significant involvement with school placements of primary aged children with many issues arising in schools, including trauma behaviours, educational attainment, social understanding and homework issues. The Education Service will continue to develop initiatives to support children in this age range, to look at early interventions as well as offering continued support to secondary school placements.