Otago Polytechnic
Hilltop Kidz v2

What are kids to do?

Occupational therapy students established a successful after school programme in Halfway Bush.

Community worker Carolyn Sims, then working for the Flagstaff Community Church, identified that the Halfway Bush community needed something for children to do. At that time, in 2007, there was nothing in the area, so parents would have to drive their children somewhere else for organised activities.

Two Occupational Therapy students, Megan Brian and Saffron Kelman, researched the options and suggested an after school programme once a week. They designed the programme, successfully applied for funding to purchase resources, and planned the content for the first couple of months, with a focus on science-based activities and games. They launched the Hilltop Kidz programme by holding lunch time taster sessions at Halfway Bush School.

Carolyn then picked up the programme and ran it with a team of volunteers. Hilltop Kidz became very popular, with most of the schools' pupils crossing the road on Monday afternoons to the church hall. Children were eager to join as soon as they could, when they started school. The activities were educational as well as fun, and the children formed positive bonds with other adults in their community.

Sadly Hilltop Kidz came to an end when Carolyn resigned, as noone else was in a position to pick up the programme leadership role. During its eight years of operation it had significant benefits for the children of Halfway Bush and their families.