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. FreshAz Ed's a mobile education service, which has evolved from being teachers in regular classrooms, to being called on as advisors or educational project managers for the MoE, Orion Electrical, Unitec, the Wellington Police College, Khan Academy and Core Education, amongst others. In 2018, we've been tasked with the development of an online Training Company, to teach English. The focus? To teach English to many along the Silk Road, from Asia to Europe - encompassing potentially 65 countries long term.
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 enroute to endorse all.
We formed the Wairarapa KidzConference in 2015. It was our endeavour to reach more students, outside the Learn-Now extension and enrichment programme we also offer schools, homeschoolers and kids offshore. Our focus is to inspire kids to 'Frontup4impact' and so duly create opportunities for them to connect, collaborate, create / innovate and contribute - locally, nationally and globally.
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 for example, though to having teams who'd rock up to UCOL, Aratoi, Mitre 10 etc in between - all with an invite 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... The Youth Enterprise section from 3pm allows students to provide a service, share info, or sell a product, thus forming what's now become the KidzConference Micro-Enterprise Market. Kids get to keep all they earn.
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 - and have a little extra to do even more for the kids...