It’s a free, 12-week, in-school, afterschool program for students in grades 7 and 8 led by fully trained, volunteer 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 10 years ago by a Canadian teacher who saw a need to complement the existing school curriculum with life skills development. The Kids Now 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.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST FOR A SCHOOL TO OFFER A KIDS NOW PROGRAM?
The program is offered free of charge to school and to students, thanks to contributions from generous and committed Kids Now sponsors.
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, we are only looking for schools in Edmonton and Toronto/GTA. If you are a school outside these areas, please contact Kids Now and we will add your school’s name to a waiting list.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF BRINGING THE KIDS NOW PROGRAM TO MY SCHOOL?
Schools who offer the Kids Now program to their students confirm an improvement in student self-confidence, peer-to-peer relationships, school spirit, and communications between teachers and kids.
What’s more, 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, improve the youth’s school performance, and cut violent behaviour.
Also, 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). Parents felt that communication skills, presentation skills and goal setting were also more important than academic or sports ability. The Kids Now program focuses on issues that are important to parents, your school’s key stakeholders.
WHAT IS INVOLVED IN BRINGING THE KIDS NOW PROGRAM TO MY SCHOOL?
Kids Now prides itself on having a turnkey program that is very easy to implement. If you would like to offer the Kids Now program to your students, you must select a “school champion” who will act as a liaison between the school and the volunteer mentor appointed to your school. The school champion is also the liaison between the school and your local Kids Now program manager. The school champion can be a teacher, a principal, a vice-principal, or a guidance counselor. The rest is as easy as 1-2-3. The school champion must:
Register the school for a Kids Now program using our online form.
Make a presentation to the grade 7 and 8 students about the program (Note: Presentation and all supporting materials are provided by Kids Now) and sign-up 10-12 grade 7 and/or 8 students.
Be responsible for program administration related to obtaining parent consent forms, securing a location in the school where the program can be held, and being onsite for each weekly 1.5 hour session during the 12 week program.
WHAT KINDS OF THINGS WILL THE STUDENTS LEARN?
Life skills development and topics such as goal setting, stress management and communication and presentation skills. 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 fully trained, volunteer mentors from leading companies who use the thoroughly tested Kids Now course materials, including student workbooks with interactive exercises and activities.
WHEN AND WHERE DOES THE PROGRAM TAKE PLACE?
The Kids Now program takes place in your 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 volunteer, participants, and school champion will decide together what day of the week is most convenient for all.
WHAT DO OTHER SCHOOL CHAMPIONS SAY ABOUT THE PROGRAM?
“I have been a Kids Now school champion for the past five years. The Kids Now program, which has been held 11 times at our school, has made a positive and powerful impact on our student body. Thanks to the Kids Now program, there has been marked improvement in student empowerment, peer-to-peer problem solving, and goal-setting.”
“Our school is in a tough neighbourhood. We spend so much time trying to reach out and discipline the problem kids, that we sometimes tend to forget about connecting with the ‘good kids.’ We see this program as a resource for those kids – to help them excel and continue to be leaders.”
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.
WHICH CHILDREN SHOULD ENROLL IN THE PROGRAM?
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.
DOES THE SCHOOL 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 SUBSTITUTED 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 THERE A LEAD TIME/DEADLINE 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).
IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE I SHOULD KNOW ABOUT THE KIDS NOW PROGRAM BEFORE I REGISTER MY SCHOOL?
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 having your school join our community to help more kids make positive choices and reach their full potential. If you’d like to speak to a school champion from a school that has a kids.now program, or if you have a question that you don’t see here, please drop us a line, and we’ll follow-up with you directly. We may even add your question to this section!