KOINONIA (Greek word, meaning Joint participation) PROJECT is an Initiative which seeks to deliver a range of activities which support children from pre-birth to three years old from the Black & Ethnic Minority Community who are affected by high and unprecedented levels of poverty and economic deprivation in South Lanarkshire and Glasgow council area. Research has shown time and time again that the start a child gets in life have a big impact on their development and nurturing children at this pivotal early stage can make a significant difference between their future success and happiness or a very different life story.
It is suggested that children from disadvantaged backgrounds are at significantly increased risk of developing conduct disorders that could lead to difficulties in all areas of their lives, including educational attainment, relationships and long-term mental health issues. (NICE/SCIE, 2006) Parent-training/educational programmes in the management of children with conduct disorders. NICE technology appraisal guidance 102. Hence, The KOINONIA PROJECT is intended to benefit members of the Black & Ethnic Minority community with children from pre-birth to 3 years old. Statistics suggest that close to three-quarters of new mums (71%) want more support during pregnancy and the first years of their baby`s life (Big Lottery Fund).
The core reason behind KOINONIA PROJECT is to achieve improved levels of social and emotional development with less challenging behaviour in pre-schoolers and reduced antisocial behaviour in older children and young people and to ensure that by the age of three most children are able to communicate and socialise with other children and adults so that they are able to interact and learn more effectively. The issues to be addressed include social and emotional development, diet and nutrition, parenting and relationships and language. There have been cases of children from BME community starting school unable to talk or ready to communicate.
The Initiative is structured in two strata- Educational Support and Social Support.
The Educational Support is geared towards educational enlightenment on the need for parents to be actively involved with their children educational needs right from the pregnancy through to age three. Parenting Classes involves training parents on how to use the computers & Internet. Other training includes creating opportunity for parents to take active participation in storytelling, reading books, encouraging their children to learn numerical and vocabulary skills through a range of activities. Parents would have the opportunity to attend workshops on the importance of cooking healthy foods for the children; dealing and coping with stress associated with pregnancy and parenting. They will also have the opportunity to share their experiences in a more relaxed atmosphere and also, to exchange information on how the lack of these basic parental skills and connection could be improved among BME community. The aim is for children to have positive social and emotional well-being, a nurturing and loving family environment and healthier children.
The Social Support is geared towards the children social needs which include participation in various activities such as dance, pottery making, various games, and messy play, skipping and cooking and eating healthily. This activity will enhance parental confidence towards getting involved with their children activity. The fun activities will help children to develop their cognitive ability and better understanding of the word of socialization as recent research suggest that a child`s physical, social and cognitive development during the early years strongly influences their school readiness and educational attainment, economic participation and health Dyson, A et al, 2009).Childhood development, education and health inequalities. Report of task group.
Kid’s Clubs: We run kids Clubs once a week during term time and Holiday Clubs during the summer holidays. These Clubs provide a safe place for children to play, learn social skills and build positive relationships with the leaders and other children.
Pre-Birth Support Work
Mellow-Mellow Activity: This an 8-Week Program for mums-to-be that helps in relieving stress and supporting relaxation.
Cookery Activity: Learn to cook some simple healthy meals for your family in a relaxed environment.
Family Lunch: Come along with a family member and children too, eat lunch together and get to know some other people also having babies.
Parent and Child Sessions
Parents-Children Playtime: This is a fun, interactive and engaging session with the following activities- messy play, arts & crafts sing a song time and snacks time.
Black-Black Shoe: A session for reading and storytelling.
Sound of Manywaters: This is swimming session at the Castlemilk pool, featuring fun games and melodious songs.
Baby Massage – an auspicious time for parents and babies from 10 weeks old to bond with one another.
Family Fun Time: We do organize family outings during the holidays to local theme parks, attractions, museums, Art gallery and place of historical importance. In addition, action-packed weekends as family residential activity are also organized.
Life Skills Development Workshops: We also actively encourage activity workshops/seminars to learn new skills such as ICT skills, Photography, Beads Making, Interior Decoration & Design, Sewing & Dress Re-Making and drama/dance.