Active Explorers Victoria Ave and Palmerston North Boys High School are doing NCEA level 2 together. A chance discussion with a teacher from Boys High, who is a parent at the centre, about growing ball skills in under 5’s has developed into a physical activity programme being created by the Year 12 students which our 3 to 5 years attend fortnightly at the college. The following is from the Year 9 Dean, Jason Moore…

“As part of the Year 12 Sports and Exercise Studies course at PNBH, students are completing a level 2 standard which looks at demonstrating a social responsibility model in physical activity. To attain Excellence, students must demonstrate this social responsibility beyond the classroom. Having the children from Active Explorers coming into school allows the students the opportunity to display the required behaviours outside of the normal setting. This is an opportunity that extends the young men beyond their comfort zones and attempt to provide leadership, fun and joy for the children they are working with. It is a class that is eagerly anticipated and I believe to be valuable for all involved”

These young men have provided such a wonderful environment for much more than physical skills to be developed. The relationships our children have built with these boys is the highlight. The children arrive at the hall eagerly looking for the ‘boy’ they played with last time and are met with just as excited expressions on the faces of that boy looking for them. There are high fives, big ‘hi bro’s and even a few hugs. In conversations with the college staff it seems that they are seeing sides of their students they have never seen before and we also are seeing aspects of our children we could not have anticipated. Standoffish teenagers uncomfortable around children now celebrating with three years olds who have scored a soccer goal; shy children taking risks because the ‘cool boy helped me’; and tough young men gently helping up and consoling children who have taken a tumble - ‘oh you alright mate, come on I’ll help you’. Our parents are welcomed to attend too and they are thankful for the opportunity to see their children engaging with these young men in such positive ways. It all started with a conversation about ball skills and NCEA credits and now it is so much more, it’s truly heart-warming and what learning is all about.