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The Kidpower for Young Children programme is working to met the needs of cultures in South Auckland and Nelson.

Fiona Bryan

Kidpower Teenpower Fullpower Trust
03 543 2669

Kidpower's experience evaluating an experiential programme with young children in an ethical and effective way.

When it ran

The programme was developed and extended to meet cultural needs in 2012. It's now available nationwide, being delivered primarily in Auckland and the top of the South Island.


Children aged 3–12 years and their families and whānau.

The goal

We wanted to determine if the current Kidpower for Young Children programme effectively met the needs of the variety of cultures in South Auckland and Nelson, and discover how we could adapt the programme to ensure that all children, parents families and whānau were getting the same consistent messages and tools around keeping themselves and others safe.

We also wanted to create the base for an ongoing collaboration to extend our whānau programmes to reach more parents, families and whānau of young children (ages 3-7) with experiential, strength based primary prevention education around "people safety".

What we did

We established a pilot collaboration group in South Auckland led by Kidpower. This group included schools, ECE’s and SWiS workers and their organisations.

The schools we worked with as part of the collaboration were multi-cultural, with many consisting of 60% or more Maori or Pasifika tamariki. Of the adult participants, 67% were of Maori or Pasifika ethnicity.

We ran series of workshops with children, teachers and parents and gathered feedback. The feedback and discussions directly impacted on the development of a new resource and programme — which included specific songs and skills aimed at preventing sexual violence.

We then trialled, internally evaluated and integrated the collaboration methods that worked into a three-pronged approach, consisting of:

  1. professional development for teachers, including teaching resources
  2. parent, whānau and caregiver workshops
  3. children workshops.

We looked for ways to effectively measure the skills the children learned, and developed age-appropriate, educational evaluation tools for young children with no literacy or basic literacy only.

We looked for ways to make it possible to effectively measure the skills the children learned by practicing them — since verbal and intellectual ways don't do justice to skills that aren't conscious, verbal knowledge.

The outcome

We reached 156 adults (in the professional development and whānau workshops) and 838 children. All of the adult participants (teachers, parents or whānau) felt that the programme met expectations and gave them tools and strategies they could continue to use.

Since the workshops:

  • we now include professional development (for adults in schools) and whānau workshops enabling us to reach more families. This triangulation enables a better understanding of tamariki [Children] backgrounds and cultures, and also enables everyone to be on the same page.
  • we've developed a new, more user friendly and culturally appropriate resource with "safety signs", songs, games andactivities supports the ongoing learning of skills and strategies to keep children safe.
  • we've adapted the resource and strengths-based coaching methods to facilitate successful learning experiences and included links to Te Whāriki (the ECE curriculum) and the Junior Primary School NZ Health Curriculum, as well as follow-up activities.
  • the resources are now used in a way that respects different cultures within the schools and ECEs, preventing conflicts that could lead to safety issues for tamariki, eg when they learn something at school that could be perceived as disrespectful by their parents.
  • the internal evaluations showed that parents have new skills to teach children. They can reinforce the same intended behavioural outcomes and use of common language that the tamariki are getting from the programme at school.

The programme is still being used nationwide.

Lessons learnt

  1. Look at different methods to attract parents and whānau to the evaluation workshops.
  2. Only professional evaluators who have extensive experience with young children have an understanding on how to evaluate experiential programmes with young children in safe and effective ways. It’s not something you can learn from books or at universities.
  3. We still need to further evolve tools to measure non-verbalised learning.


“Coming from a Pacific Island culture I see great value in joining the parents, whānau and caregivers into the loop of what their children are learning in regards to their safety and communication.

Often our parents, whānau and caregivers need educating too and Kidpower workshops provide that. It also gives families opportunities to continue practising at home with their children, having learnt the same skills and techniques.

Follow through and consistency is one of the key fundamentals when our children are learning valuable lessons that will benefit them growing up.”— Sally Ikinofo, Mangere East Family Service Centre