Kids as Catalyst program delivers outstanding results for Victorian primary school children

Kids as Catalyst – A social action program promoting creative leadership and resilience

Primary school children participating in a six-month resilience and leadership program have dramatically improved their personal, learning and social skills, according to a newly released evaluation report from Melbourne charity Kids Thrive.

The award-winning Kids as Catalyst program, which is linked with the Victorian school curriculum, involved 164 upper primary school children in four schools in Melbourne’s west and regional Victoria.

Kids as Catalyst is a six-month creative leadership and resilience program aiming to ignite and grow the skills of young people to become catalysts for positive change in their local communities.

Kids as Catalyst was developed by Kids Thrive seven years ago and with each new year the program outcomes have improved. It has been running for two years in Benalla P-12, Maldon PS, Our Lady of the Southern Cross (Wyndham) and Wyndham Park PS.

Evaluation conducted by teachers using an independently developed methodology found improvements across a number of areas including social, personal and learning domains.

  • 97% of children improved educational engagement (willingness to participate)
  • 87% of children had improved self-directed learning;
  • 92% of children demonstrated improved perseverance;
  • 83% of children had improved literacy skills;
  • 79% of children had improved numeracy skills.

“Kids as Catalyst aims to increase young people’s confidence and capacity to identify issues of importance to them and their local communities, and to take action to address these issues,” says Dr Andrea Lemon, Kids Thrive CEO and Creative Director.

It also aims to build students’ resilience, self-esteem, social connections and sense of agency by:

  • Using creativity to explore their personal values and to rehearse key social and community development skills
  • Promoting social inclusiveness and community connectedness
  • Encouraging community cooperation and participation
  • Fostering awareness and understanding of community issues
  • Enacting alternative, positive pathways for young people and communities in environments with few perceived options
  • Exploring creative approaches to transforming challenges and obstacles into opportunities for growth.

“KiC supports children to learn and grow in ways that adults can’t script. Through the program children develop safe connections with others in their community who share their concerns about the world. They come up with their own solutions to solving problems they care about. This puts into practice values such as gratitude, kindness, giving and volunteering,’ said Dr Lemon.

Kids as Catalyst received the 2017 VicHealth Improving Mental Wellbeing Award for strengthening connections between children and community groups, and empowering children to become changemakers in their communities.

The program has been delivered to over 30 schools since 2011 and receives philanthropic and government funding.

Read the 2017 Outcomes Evaluation Report.