Andy is 11 years old and has been involved with our YPFN programme in the transition group for the past Year. The transition group meets every Wednesday afternoon and it involves a group of primary school children going to the secondary school which they will be attending the following school year, and taking part in activities with the secondary school children who act as mentors to help ease their concerns around going to secondary school. The primary school children that come to the session are those identified by the primary as children who could find it particularly difficult to make the step from primary to secondary school.
The sessions which are held every week focus on getting the primary and secondary school children to mix in fun and exciting ways and our recent focus has been to promote a grow and eat project. The young people involved have planted vegetables in the school which they have looked after and are they are being harvested by the pupils. The young people are also now beginning to cook meals with the crops they have harvested, researching, planning and following a range of healthy and fun recipes.
Andy kept himself to himself in the first few weeks of the project and was quite withdrawn from the group despite support form the mentors, and staff members in engaging Andy.
However whenever we needed to go to the garden to either plant or harvest plants he was Andy was the first one to go out and get involved, he appeared to really enjoyed the gardening and he was also very good at listening very carefully to instructions and following them precisely. When outdoors Andy was always keen to learn and started to engage more, often encouraging and helping others in the group who were less confident at gardening. Andy has also been very keen to experiment and try new foods, he clearly enjoyed cooking and has developed lots of new practical skills.
Andy who was at first very quiet and withdrawn was able, with the relevant one-to-one support, and engaged in a range of activities which inspired him, to develop his confidence, and is now very different in group activities. Andy has become one of the most engaged and loudest members of the group, confident to voice his thoughts, and to take part in all types of activity as an equal group member. Andy’s growing confidence will help him in his educational transition, and we are sure he will settle well at secondary school