Assisting children to reach their full potential

The SHINE for Kids Education Program assists primary-school aged children who have a parent or relative involved in the criminal justice system. The program offers a supportive, caring and non-judgmental environment designed to enable children to reach their full potential.

The program’s service delivery is undertaken by the Education Program Worker and experienced volunteers and is held within the child’s school once a week for a period of 45 minutes. This time allows the child to receive one-to-one assistance with home reading, homework and assignments, incomplete class work and areas of their education identified as requiring improvement, and this is usually conducted under the guidance of their classroom teacher. Weekly communication with key people within the school ensures that any other barrier to the child’s education such as behavioural issues, bullying, or any other social concerns can be addressed within sessions with the child.

The main focus is on developing the child’s literacy and numeracy skills while increasing their self esteem and confidence with learning, and furthermore to stimulate their engagement with education and learning. Case management services enable the child to be fully supported socially, emotionally, and academically. Case plan goals are determined based on the needs of the child and their family and are revised on an ongoing basis.

A very positive aspect of this program is the interactions which SHINE for Kids have between the schools, the children, and their families. This community-based partnership enables the child to receive the best possible support for their education and beyond.

Education Program outcomes

The program is aims for the following outcomes:

  • Enhance the child’s current academic performance
    Every child can receive the opportunity of improving their current educational results. This is monitored by recording the child’s literacy achievement results, and numeracy achievement results from school report cards.
  • Build the child’s confidence and self esteem
    Every child can have positive experiences within their educational setting which will encourage them to excel further with their learning. This is monitored by carers and teachers, and SHINE for Kids’ observations and evaluations of the child’s improvements in this area. Monitoring the child’s literacy effort results and numeracy effort results also contributes to the child’s overall achievement within this outcome.
  • Improved engagement with education and learning
    Every child can experience the positive aspects of their education and respect the expectations of the school and their learning environment.
    This is monitored by the child’s attendance rates at school as documented by the Oasis and Trim systems used within schools and are reported within their school report.
  • Assistance with homework and assignments
    Every child can be given the opportunity of receiving the assistance necessary to complete homework and assignment tasks. This is monitored by recording the child’s homework submission result which is documented within their school report.

Case study: Jai is overcoming his learning difficulties

Jai* is a ten-year-old boy still grieving for the person who has cared for him all his life – his grandmother. As Jai was returned to the full-time care of his mother, he also moved schools. Fortunately the Education Program was operating at his new school too. Not only did this provide continuity of support for the boy, but SHINE for Kids was able to provide information regarding Jai’s history and needs to the school.

Jai’s new school has taken a keen interest in developing his very low literacy skills and SHINE for Kids works in partnership with his learning support team to continue the work set out for Jai each week.

SHINE for Kids liaised with his mother to have Jai’s hearing and vision assessed, and he has since received a prescription for reading glasses. It has been found that he has scarring on his eardrums from past infections, as well as otitis media, a disease of the middle ear very common among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.

SHINE for Kids organised a referral to a paediatrician, who has reported to the school’s Learning Support Team outlining a care plan, including an assessment by an educational psychologist and scheduled diagnostic testing at the appropriate age.

Jai is thoroughly enjoying his new school and the special support he is receiving. In this fortunate case SHINE for Kids has been able to maintain consistent service delivery with Jai, with practical assistance at the school and case management services.