Kiwi Can Longitudinal Study

Year One Update

In July 2023, we began a qualitative longitudinal research project to examine the impact of our Kiwi Can Programme on its participants, and how these effects evolve as tamariki progress through school.  

Kiwi Can supports the development of social-emotional skills, such as empathy and learning to regulate emotions. The programme’s fun and experiential group activities encourage tamariki to work together, helping to build social skills and positive relationships among peers. Through creating this nurturing environment, Kiwi Can becomes a place where tamariki can express themselves and build self-confidence and resilience.  

Our longitudinal study includes conducting individual interviews annually with the same cohort of tamariki from two schools, over four years. Using a progressive focusing approach allows us to consider any small and incremental changes and seek clarity on any inconsistencies or outstanding themes in feedback.  

In July 2023, interviews took place with tamariki from the Bay of Plenty region. During our first year of interviews, we learned that the participating tamariki aged 9-10 years are becoming more independent learners. At this stage, opportunities to problem solve and participate in hands-on learning are important for cognitive development. We can see tamariki form identities, learn to manage emotions, navigate friendships, and peer dynamics, and their relationships with adults, all crucial aspects of their social-emotional development. This age group are beginning to understand concepts such as teamwork, respect, responsibility, and resilience.  

Through these interviews we also ground truth that while school provides a structured learning environment for teaching, Kiwi Can further supports learning through engaging activities and leaders who are caring adult role models. Kiwi Can tamariki are given the opportunity to practice values and life skills and reflect on their meaning, increasing the likelihood of them incorporating the values into their everyday lives.  

One student, Isabella, finds joy in learning and connecting with others, she enjoys sports such as soccer and actively participating in Kiwi Can. Isabella appreciates the community aspect of Kiwi Can, where she feels supported and engaged. In the interview, Isabella emphasised the importance of Kiwi Can teaching and learning values such as kindness, trust, and respect. She talked about the positive impact of Kiwi Can on her personal growth and social interactions at school. Isabella describes Kiwi Can as “amazing” suggesting a positive and engaging experience. She explained an example of when the lessons learnt in the programme were helpful to her – when she is finding schoolwork hard, she thinks of the messages she learned in Kiwi Can; to move on, try her best, and never give up. 

Our findings to date affirm the positive perceptions of Kiwi Can held by tamariki. During this year one evaluation, students consistently selected images and words that represent enjoyment, learning, teamwork, respect, connections, and well-being. We have also learned that the multi-sensory nature of Kiwi Can lessons is particularly beneficial for neurodiverse students, providing an inclusive learning environment catering to their needs.  

Overall, Kiwi Can reinforces tamariki’s positive attitudes towards school and learning, teaching, and reinforcing essential life skills and values that enhance peer relationships and social-emotional well-being and helping tamariki to succeed at school. 

Thank you, Lion, for your generous support with our Kiwi Can Longitudinal Research Project. 

Read the full report here.

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