The Wairarapa KidzConferences: How did they evolve?
FreshAz Education Ltd (est., 2006), Masterton, is the host of what will be the 5th Annual Wairarapa KidzConference in 2021. FreshAz Ed's an education service, which has evolved to include teachers in regular classrooms, to being used in an advisory capacity.
On the whole, it's partnered with for its 'Educational Architectural' bent - designers/architects of innovative teaching and learning opportunities. We've been project managers, designers and implementers etc, for the MoE, Orion Electrical, Unitec, the Wellington Police College and Core Education, amongst others.
In 2018, we were tasked with the development of an online Training Company, to teach English - to many along the Silk Road - Asia to Europe, encompassing potentially 65 countries long term. We're still involved in that... More recently, we've become aligned to the National Geographic Learning sector - working also with the business folk off shore who need support to develop high levels of English proficiency in their industries.
We provide a range of educational opportunities locally - and as far afield as is possible - with a strong future focused, and digital and global citizenship based ethos. We aim to be 'as fresh as...' in our approach, and have been ground in MoE research and development - scoring the DEANZ Award (Australasian / NZ award) enroute to endorse all.
We formed the Wairarapa KidzConference in 2015. It was our endeavour to help develop more opportunities for kids - whet their appetite regards possible careers - give local businesses scope to consider creating a 'KidzClub' e.g Pottery, Agri-Clubz, Engineering etc.
Our focus is to also inspire kids to 'Frontup4impact' - consider how they contribute locally, nationally or even internationally (we have kids as 'Native English Speaking Tutors' to kids in Korea and Mexico for example). This duly gives scope to create opportunities for them to connect, collaborate, create / innovate and contribute - locally, nationally and globally.
A big addition to our recent KidzConference, is a Youth Enterprise focus - from 3pm-4pm on the day. Imagine the entire foyer of the Copthorne lined with 'stalls/tables' where kids are in 'small business' mode, having organised something they could sell, offer or set up for others to enjoy. We've had crafts sold - Harry Potter 'potions', wands and signs etc available, through to cupcake stalls and books being sold.
With the KidzConference, it's a day 'onsite' at the Copthorne and - as was the case with the last conference, out 'n about from the Clareville Bakery to the Wee Red Barn even. Teams rock up to UCOL, Aratoi, Mitre 10, Squash clubs and so on. All are invited to continue connecting with us online and offline from there on.
We're encouraging the community to offer more for kids - more for families. As parents of primary and intermediate students ourselves, much is limited to traditional sport, dance and music. We're keen to broaden the depth of learning for kids - applied learning - which we're fondly referring to as our 'Actual Reality' programming... The KidzConference is a day where 30-40 community reps whet the appetite of kids for more...
Speakers, Workshops and Youth Enterprise sections form the day, with workshops to date, ranging from Archery, to Coding, SASS Fit, Steel Pan Drums, Life Skills, Mitre 10, Pottery, Chess, Civil Engineering and more... That Youth Enterprise section has begun to form what's now more like a Micro-Enterprise Market. Schools - fundraise for your realities - in that space too!
There's a huge host of self-management, leadership, consideration, and problem solving aspects as well - with invites to continue connecting beyond the conference on offer also. These include invites to 'KidzClubz', participation in the FreshAz extension and enrichment or even tutoring programme etc.
Amongst all, the doors open to greater levels of connectivity with each other, partnerships for innovation - and global support and awareness etc. We aiming to help our students contribute as entertainers, leaders, engineerers, designers, networkers, speakers, easers of poverty, caregivers, artists, carpenters, environmentalists, musicians etc... Whoever in the community can give them an insight to what they do - provides an insight for our students - an opportunity to have their 'appetite whet' to inspire greater drive and understanding for why they're with us - at school, in our community and in our world.
We publicly market the KidzConference, and send digital adverts to all local schools - to load up on their Facebook pages etc.
During the last conference, student from 26 schools came - and to date students from schools in Wellington and Otaki have attended also. We're now in a phase where siblings are returning year after year... We have leaders now at college - but keen to return annually to further their leadership skills.
Our only catch, is that these conferences cost approx $120 per student - so a ticket at $50 is a subsidised price. We need chunky support though - we need donors... (a tough to pill to swallow, we know...sorry!). So please - spread the word. If we can get a full house with 350 kids, we can keep this event sustainably viable and ongoing.