I knew of Liz from her work at a local high school, so when I heard about Respect4Us in KS2 I was keen to find out more and get on board early. I was impressed with her passion when talking about looking after the children, particularly the importance of feeding them well! When I expressed concern about transport - none of our 3 parents can drive and it would be an additional cost to the school – she quickly came back with the offer of including transport.
When J came to us in September, most things were deemed ‘poo’ and ‘rubbish’ including himself and any work he did. J has had a difficult start in life; he has low self esteem, anger towards men and few positive life experiences, which means he worries about anything new.
When told about Respect4Us, J seemed keen; we arranged that a TA would take him for the first time and stay a while if necessary. The next day he arrived at school and curled into a ball refusing to go – we had to call mum to help get him there.
No such worries ever since! J has even chosen to go to his day rather than come to a special event at school. He never says that he is rubbish now.
At first J still found it hard to talk to us about his days out, giving a stock response of ‘nothing’ when asked what he did; then he began to slip it into conversations and even began to freely talk about what he might be doing next time. One day he asked to do some extra writing and wrote to the adults to say that he liked coming.
I popped into J’s classroom the other day and out of the blue he told me that he had been to Cromer the day before: ‘Did you go on the pier?’ ‘Yes, it was a bit scary though’ ‘Why?’ ‘Because it was just water underneath’. This big, tough lad had never been to the seaside before.
We feel that the experiences Respect4Us are giving our children are making an enormous contribution to helping them become more positive, well-rounded individuals – they are definitely more ‘school-shaped’ since attending Respect4Us!