Kids Thrive Programs: Be creative, be brave, be early

Our programs use the arts as a catalyst for conversation and community engagement to address some of the more difficult issues facing children today. We deliver short, medium and long-term programs in health and community centres, schools, and libraries across Victoria.

Our programs are creative

Developed by Kids Thrive founders and leading Australian artists Dr Andrea Lemon and Andrea Rieniets, our programs provide an accessible cultural experience that connects with the whole person, speaking to the heart, and respecting the child’s capacity to lead their community to positive change.

All of our programs use the arts as a key learning and community engagement strategy. We partner artists such as musicians, writers, theatre directors, animators, movement and visual artists with educators and children’s specialists. Together we develop and deliver innovative arts and action-based interventions by which children become catalysts for community change.

Our programs positively impact on all dimensions of learning by drawing on the arts’ ability to open learning pathways in the brain and transform education practice in classrooms, increasing academic achievement and engagement; building social and emotional well-being, empathy and tolerance; and growing children’s capacity to engage with and understand the world around them.

Our programs are brave

We believe children can initiate and lead positive change, from their own perspective, for the benefit of all. And they have the desire to do so. We acknowledge that children play a pivotal role in bringing communities together, and have the capacity to lead their adults to change for the better. So we inspire and equip children to lead change in their communities now and in the future.

Where most child-aware programs focus inwards towards the child – wrapping services, support staff and activities around them – Kids Thrive programs start by empowering the child and then rippling out into their communities.

Kids Thrive partners artists with children’s specialists in the areas of health, education and welfare to develop and deliver programs that work with vulnerable children from at-risk and disadvantaged communities.

Our approaches are evidence-based – informed by contemporary international research on child development, the effects of trauma on the developing brain, arts and education, leadership, anti-bias and community development. We engage with children in familiar, safe environments, teaching them creative strategies and life-skills to cope with the effects of violence, disadvantage, trauma and cultural conflict.

Our programs act early

Kids Thrive focuses on prevention and early intervention, working with children aged 0 to 12 to prevent issues before they have taken hold. Research shows that the earlier intervention is applied in at-risk communities, the greater the chance of recovery and that it takes far more resources to unpack embedded issues than to help prevent them.

So why wait?

Our programs engage vulnerable children in positive experiences and relationships throughout their early years – increasing their life opportunities, helping them build a parallel story of positive experiences, and giving them creative strategies for their lifetime.

Professionals, parents and communities gain too

Through the child, we reach the community.

Kids Thrive programs have a dynamic ripple effect, reaching beyond children to their parents, carers, siblings, schools and the broader community, with the potential to affect ongoing change over many years.

All our programs are developed and delivered in partnership with educators and children’s professionals, and each program incorporates focused professional development for them.

Our school-based programs are linked to AusVELS curriculum standards for assessing competencies and are able to be delivered within schools curriculum.

‘I’ve seen my kids grow so much in confidence, the way they treat other people, the respect they have for other cultures and religions, the respect that kids have for each other… learning about fairness… how to be resilient within themselves.’ Jamile Hakim, Teacher, Holy Child Primary School about Kids Thrive’s KIND program