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Kiwi Caneffects change
The Ashburton Courier, Canterbury  by Mick Jensen
11 May 2017
General News - page 6 - 408 words - ID 773062295 - Photo: No - Type: News Item - Size: 179.00cm2

The Kiwi Can programme is proving a valuable resource for pupils at two Mid Canterbury prim ary schools.

Netherby and Wakanui schools are the first in the district to run the external programme, run through the Graeme Dingle Foundation.

The programme offers an hour a week of positive attitude and positive engagement education to every pupil and is run by pairs of facilitators.

Initial local funding for the programme came from the Mackenzie Charitable Trust, Mid and South Canterbury Trust and Lion Foundation and last week further donations totalling $13,000 were given by Plains Rotary, Altrusa Ashburton and St Paul's Presbyterian Church, Oxford Street during a visit by Graeme Dingle.

The cost of the programme at both schools is now covered for the rest of the year.

Netherby School principal Phil Wheeler said Kiwi Can offered a fresh voice and reinforced established school values of respect and perseverance.

School statistics for the last seven years showed a steady decline in bad behaviour and Kiwi Can was contributing to that trend.

Mr Wheeler said programme facilitators connected with pupils and feedback from both staff and pupils was very positive.

The same sentiment comes from Wakanui School principal Hilary Boyce, who calls Kiwi Can a "valuable resource" and worthy investment for the local trusts that have made it possible.

"It doesn't matter what decile level a school is classified as - all pupils, across the board, need help in extending social skills.

"That's what this programme does and that's why I fought hard to get it established in this school."

Since its introduction, the programme had contributed to a noticeable decline in incidents in the classroom and in the playground, she said.

Kiwi Can is aimed at children aged five to 12 years. It teaches values such as integrity and respect in a fun-filled environment.

Graeme Dingle Foundation Canterbury regional manger Noeline Allam said it was exciting to see the Mid Canterbury community come together to set up and and now to look at expanding the programme across the district.

Mrs Allam said the Ashburton community had highlighted a problem with its youth in recent years and was now seeking ways to address it.

She said the goal was now to have two full time Kiwi Can facilitators working in this district from 2018.

That would mean the creation of two jobs and would give more children access to the benefits of the programme.

More information at choicesproject.org.nz website.

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