It’s a free, 12-week, in-school, afterschool program for students in grades 7 and 8, led by fully trained, volunteer coach-mentors. The program includes thought-provoking games, skill-based activities and group discussions, which teach goal-setting, effective communications, positive conflict resolution, stress management, and other valuable skills that last a lifetime.
WHO DEVELOPED THE PROGRAM?
Created 15 years ago by a Canadian teacher who saw a need to complement the existing school curriculum with life skills development. The program features a well-researched, educator-endorsed curriculum that is supported by many Canadian school boards, including an endorsement from the Toronto District School Board, the third largest school board in North America.
WHY IS THIS PROGRAM IMPORTANT?
During the middle childhood years (ages 6 — 12), children develop growing autonomy from their family, and increased interest in friends. This is a critical time for children to gain a sense of responsibility along with their growing independence. What’s more, research shows that experiences during this critical development period can positively or adversely impact a child’s future. Kids Now helps kids build life skills so they are more able to resist negative peer pressure and make better, more positive choices for themselves.
A recent Ipsos-Reid/Kids Now/State Farm poll of Canadian parents indicates that 96 per cent of them feel that self-esteem is the number one factor for success in high school (before even academic ability or sports ability). This same survey revealed that parents feel that communication skills, presentation skills and goal setting are also more important than academic or sports ability for success in high school. The Kids Now program focuses on these issues that are important to parents.
HOW MUCH DOES THE KIDS NOW PROGRAM COST?
The program is offered free of charge to school and to students, thanks to contributions from generous and committed Kids Now sponsors.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF MENTORING-BASED PROGRAMS LIKE KIDS NOW?
Parents play a central role in helping children build life-success skills, but they can’t do it alone. Adolescents are heavily influenced by outside sources and today’s youth —especially tweens — are facing more social pressures than any generation before them. Mentor programs, such as the Kids Now program, offer kids another positive example in their lives.
Mentoring-based programs are widely recognized as contributing to strong, safe and healthy communities. According to a June 2008 report from the Alberta Mentoring Partnership, youth involved in mentoring programs are less likely to start using drugs (46%) and alcohol (27%); have improved attitudes toward completing work; and have improved peer and family relationships. Involvement in mentoring has also been shown to lower school absenteeism, cut violent behaviour, and improve self-esteem.
Parents whose children have been through the Kids Now program confirm that their children have experienced improved self-confidence, better goal-setting and increased school performance.
WHAT KINDS OF THINGS WILL MY CHILDREN LEARN IN THE KIDS NOW PROGRAM?
The Kids Now program focuses on youth leadership and life skills development, covering topics such as goal setting, stress management and communication and presentation skills. In fact, our curriculum includes eight of the 11 “employability skills” identified by the Conference Board of Canada as necessary for success in the workplace. See program elements for more information.
WHO TEACHES THE KIDS NOW CURRICULUM TO THE STUDENTS?
Kids Now programs are led by well-screened, fully trained, volunteer coach-mentors from leading companies who use the thoroughly tested Kids Now course materials, which includes workbooks for participants with interactive exercises and activities.
CAN I SIGN-UP TO BE A COACH-MENTOR IN MY CHILD’S SCHOOL?
If your child is in grade 7 or 8 and may enroll in the program, it is preferable that Kids Now place you in a different school in your community.
DOES THE PARTNER OR CHILD HAVE A CHOICE ON THEIR COACH-MENTOR?
Generally, Kids Now matches volunteer coaches with schools. However, Kids Now strives to accommodate if a volunteer requests a certain school, or if a school requests a certain coach.
ARE COACHES SUBSTITUTES IN CASE OF ILLNESS?
If a coach is sick or absent for some other reason, they must inform the school champion and either the day of the week in which the program is held is changed that week, or an extra week is added to the end of the session to make up for it.
IS ANY SCHOOL ELIGIBLE TO RECEIVE THE PROGRAM?
Any Canadian school with grade 7 and 8 students interested in participating in the program is eligible to receive the program. However, at the present time, programs are only available in Edmonton and Toronto/GTA. If your child’s school is outside these areas, please contact Kids Now and we will add the school’s name to a wait list for contact.
CAN ANY STUDENT ENROLL IN THE PROGRAM?
Yes. The Kids Now program is for any student in grade 7 and 8 who is interested in learning new skills and/or improving their ability to communicate, make presentations, set goals or manage stress. This program attracts students from all walks of life, which adds diversity and value to the program, as each participant shares his or her own life experiences and perspectives.
WHEN AND WHERE DOES THE PROGRAM TAKE PLACE?
The Kids Now program takes place in the school, afterschool between 3:30 and 5:00 p.m. on one weekday evening for 12 weeks during either the fall or spring (please note start time can be flexible. For some schools, start time will be 4 p.m.). The location within the school depends on availability (usually the school library, classroom or auditorium), and the day of the week is different for every school. Sometimes the coach, participants, and school champion will decide together what day of the week is most convenient for all.
HOW MANY KIDS ARE IN EACH PROGRAM?
The student to mentor ratio is 10-1. Research indicates that this is the ideal ratio for programs like ours.
WHAT DO OTHER PARENTS SAY ABOUT THE PROGRAM?
“My child is more assertive since being in the Kids Now program; he is not afraid to try new things. I notice a big improvement in his self-confidence. He loved the program and feels more self-assured than ever.”
“I decided to become a Kids Now coach-mentor because my son went through the program and it completely changed him for the better. I wanted to give another parent and their child that same experience.”
IS THERE A LEAD TIME/DEADLINE FOR A SCHOOL TO APPLY FOR A PROGRAM?
Yes. The deadline for fall programming is early September, and the deadline for spring programming is early March.
WHEN DO PROGRAMS RUN?
Programs run once a week for 12 weeks during the fall/winter (September to January) and during the spring (March to June).
WHAT IS INVOLVED IN GETTING THE KIDS NOW PROGRAM TO MY CHILD’S SCHOOL?
Kids Now prides itself on having a turnkey program that is very easy for schools to implement. The first step, is for you to make contact with the school — the principal, vice principal or your child’s teacher — to tell them about the program, direct them to this website and gauge their interest in running the program. If the school contact is interested in learning more let us know, and a Kids Now program manager will be in touch with them. Please note that at the present time, we are only looking for new programs in Edmonton and Toronto/GTA.
WHAT ELSE CAN I DO AS A PARENT/CAREGIVER TO HELP MY CHILD BUILD CRITICAL LIFE SKILLS?
Getting our kids to engage in “healthy thinking” can make a big difference in their lives. Kids Now has developed a special section on this website that offers helpful tips, tools and resources to start a healthy thinking dialogue with a kid in your life. Visit our blog for expert advice on boosting optimism, building resilience, and developing leadership and life skills in your kids.
IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE I SHOULD KNOW ABOUT THE KIDS NOW PROGRAM?
Kids Now programs build life skills that: improve family and peer relationships; provide youth with tools to make positive choices and turn away from risky behaviour; enhance self-esteem and encourage healthy thinking, leading to a more productive and rewarding life. We look forward to helping your child’s school help more kids make positive choices and reach their full potential.
If you have a question that you don’t see here, please email us (firstname.lastname@example.org), and we’ll follow-up with you directly. We may even add your question to this section!