The Rockhopper Toolkit:
Finding your feet during times of change
Example screenshots from The Rockhopper Toolkit learning videos
The Year 2021 marked the 25th anniversary of the first Seasons for Growth Children and Young People’s program. It was also the height of the Covid-19 pandemic restrictions in Australia. It was decided that the most valuable way to celebrate the anniversary would be to offer a gift to schools, children and young people, by sharing the Seasons for Growth knowledge and practice wisdom accumulated over the 25 years.
The CYRA Service worked with a team including program author, Professor Anne Graham, staff from the MacKillop Institute and Tim Pace from fibre.tv, to write and develop an adapted program that would help support children’s emotional literacy and resilience during uncertain and changing times. A key challenge was to adapt the small group learning experience of Seasons for Growth to the needs and context of a whole class. We found the answer in rockhopper penguins.
Rockhoppers are adaptable, tenacious little penguins that spend five months out at sea before coming back to land to nest. As they try to hop up the steep rocky cliffs of windswept islands, their efforts are repeatedly thwarted by large crashing waves that wash them back out to sea. We saw parallels between the rockhoppers’ efforts to make landfall and children adapting and re-adapting between school and home-school.
Rockhoppers are both funny and resilient, but the real beauty is that they offer a shared focal point for the children that is slightly removed from their own experiences. As they examine how the rockhoppers navigate challenges and change, and as they practice their own ‘rockhopper skills’, the children are encouraged to see the connections to the impact of the pandemic, or other major changes in their lives.
The Rockhopper Toolkit offers a fresh, fun yet safe approach to learning how to adapt to change and uncertainty. It has been designed to be easy to implement in schools, through a series of three short videos. These narrated videos bring together quirky animated illustrations with inspiring clips of real rockhoppers from the BBC documentary series, ‘Penguins in the Huddle’.
The Rockhopper Toolkit: Finding your feet during times of change is freely available worldwide.