Education consultant Emma celebrates Mitchell's unique interests to build a connection and support his education.
Mainstream education can be a difficult place for young people in care. Our Education consultants work one on one with young people and schools to provide support so kids in care don’t fall through the cracks.
It is work they do consistently through the school term, and through school holidays so that young people experience consistency in support through the school year.
“Our young people learn in so many ways that are beyond the classroom.
In the relationships we forge with young people, we can’t allow there to be big gaps in time through school holidays where the young people are not engaging in some form of learning.
"The options for young people in care are limited, if we didn’t consider school holidays, the school year could feel even harder and more fragmented for young people,” said Emma, Education Consultant in Victoria.
When asked about experiences she has with young people, Emma shared a story about Mitchell*.
Mitchell is a 14-year-old boy who has experienced a life of destabilisation. He has moved through a number of placements and has struggled to experience much certainty and security in his life.
“Mitchell doesn’t love school. He finds it incredibly challenging. I think we have to realise that Mitchell’s life and his schooling have not exactly offered him positivity. It has been another thing he has to deal with. I am sure at times he has felt out of place, there has been so much going on for him that is so much bigger than the day to day of homework and tasks in the classroom.
“Our job is to support and advocate for the young person. Because we can work one to one with young people, we can form really strong relationships with them. I feel like I get a really deep understanding of who they are and what makes them unique,” Emma said.
“The school holidays are actually a time when we can create programs that reflect the likes and interest of young people. We gave Mitchell a choice of a few holiday activities and he picked going to a local car show. I went with him, and it was a great opportunity for it to be just the two of us.
"Mitchell is a beautiful kid, he is so funny and honestly, we all have such a soft spot for him. He really is adored by our team. When we went to the car show, this boy who can experience such unhappiness and struggle in school, well he just came to life. He knew every car and he could rattle off heaps of specs about each one. I was blown away,” said Emma.
“The thing about the car show is that Mitchell was able to teach me. That feels incredibly special."
Emma explained that Mitchell has a tendency to withdraw and refuse to attend school, a common behaviour amongst kids in care who are struggling in education. Recently she bought him a book on cars. She plans to use the book as an opportunity to find ways to talk with Mitchell about the bigger issues in his life by forming trust around something he is really interested in.
Mitchell’s story continues – with Emma by his side.
A persons' story is precious. We take story telling seriously. Sometimes people are able to tell their own story and we love that. We always make sure they give us their ok and we will always honour the trust placed in us to bring their story forward.
*Names have been changed to protect the children in this story.
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