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May 2024

Resilience and Wellbeing a Focus for Hunter Teachers 1024 683 Rock and Water Program

Resilience and Wellbeing a Focus for Hunter Teachers

By Master Instructor Brian Hayes

Teachers and health workers have seen a sudden and concerning rise in anxiety and a decline in social/emotional skills in the post covid environment. The Rock and Water program addresses these very themes and has seen a strong resurgence of interest in the Hunter over the last two years.

The Rock and Water Program had its beginnings in Newcastle in 1999 when Dutch educator, Freerk Ykema, was invited to present at a National Conference for Boys hosted by the Family Action Centre at the University of Newcastle. The program has since grown world wide, with over 70,000 teachers trained in the program in 40 countries. 

The program is still based in Newcastle after the Family Action Centre passed the responsibility for workshop organisation to Mel Hayes and Rock and Water Master Instructor Brian Hayes, principal of Rock and Water Australia. Over 50 teachers were recently booked into the Newcastle Workshop this March at Brians full time Martial Arts facility in Warners Bay.

This is remarkable, and says something about the awareness in the Hunter of this amazing and proven program. We taught a workshop in Hobart to seven teachers, and recently we taught 11 in Albany, so it is amazing to come home to such a strong support base. Teachers and support staff are looking for strong evidence based programs that develop social skills. So many of our children struggle with diagnosed and undiagnosed difficulties in coping with anxiety and trauma. Whether they have professional support or not, children need to learn to self-regulate so that they can cope with stress. They also need to learn to interact together positively in order to learn to co-regulate and develop calm and happy classrooms.

Participants in the Rock and Water program learn over 100 games using a psychophysical method where students are encouraged to connect with their bodies, monitor what is happening as they play and interact and learn strategies to manage their own emotions.

If you are interested in learning more about the Trauma Workshop we are running one this year! You can register here