The Westport Club is proud to be bringing a new children’s educational program to Port Macquarie this year. The exciting, unique program will introduce children in the region to characters known as ‘The WorryWoos’.
Meet the WorryWoos
Originally created by illustrator Andi Green, The WorryWoos are a lovable group of plush ‘Worry Monsters’, each representing a common emotion. Each ‘Woo’ comes with its own illustrated children’s book. In each book, the main character is faced with different challenges and finds new ways to process their feelings. Speaking on The WorryWoo Monsters, Andi Green explains that she struggled as a child with emotions that she couldn’t identify or explain. As a result, Andi turned to art as a way of expressing her emotions. Ultimately what started as an art project for Andi merged into an emotional awareness program. Eventually the program received backing from educators and parents and the rest is history!
The Westport Club has become known in the Port Macquarie-Hastings region for its contribution to literacy resources. Over the years we have offered many different education programs to local schools, early childhood centres and the community at large. These have included our Library Regeneration Program; Write to Read Program and Mobile Library Literacy Van. We also introduced the Teaching and Learning with Mathletics Program, Reading for Life Program, among others.
In order to extend our commitment to providing education resources to the region, The Westport Club is collaborating with Educational Experience, the learning resource partner for Worry Woos and Dr John Irvine, Australia’s most renowned child psychologist and a pioneer in his field.
The Developing Emotional Intelligence Program Kit
We live in a world where change is inevitable and is happening more rapidly as time goes by. Growing up in a digital age means kids are now more vulnerable to disturbing content and even online bullying. As a result, children need to be given the opportunity to learn the skills to react to rapid change.
The Developing Emotional Intelligence Program Kit is designed to assist educators in developing children’s skills in existing curriculum area through executing flexible lesson plans that complement existing program. With the assistance of the WorryWoos resources and flexibility of the material, we want to make this a positive venture that will suit the varying needs of each teacher or education professional.
The objective of the WorryWoos project
The aim of our project is to fund the opportunity for 5,500 children from early childhood to Year 3 in early education centres and primary schools in our region to have access to the Developing Emotional Intelligence Program and Kit.
It is our belief that there is currently a void in the early years of education. This void must be filled with a proactive, interactive psychologist designed teacher-tested program for developing emotional intelligence. The WorryWoos program targets 3-8 year olds with a mixture of learning experiences using plush toys. The plush toys also come with a corresponding storybook to introduce complex emotional concepts.
“Emotional Intelligence is broadly defined as being able to recognise, understand and manage our emotions. Emotional intelligence is just as important as a child’s academic ability. Being able to recognise and embrace our emotions…is paramount in making sure children are supported in their learning and emotional growth.” Dr John Irvine, Child and Family Psychologist, B.A. PhD, M.A.C.E., M.A.P.S
What makes the WorryWoos project special
The uniqueness of this program lies in its approach and flexibility, without the need for extensive in-service training. Through seven dedicated modules, educators can introduce and explore emotional constructs paired with a cuddly, lovable character.
The Westport Club’s goal is to provide access to the DEI Program and Kit for children attending participating early education centres and primary schools. We want to help create a fun and safe environment for children to understand what emotions are about, share their experiences and learn how the WorryWoos characters tried to solve the problem.
Fully-funded by The Westport Club
The initial set up cost of the program could be expensive for some schools and early education centres. As a result, The Westport Club will fully-fund the program when it is first rolled out in May 2018.
What the community is saying about the WorryWoos
So far, there has been an exciting level of engagement from teachers and educators we have told about the project. Here’s what they are saying:
“I am super excited to have the opportunity to facilitate the WorryWoos program. The training day cannot come soon enough”. –Nikki Cochrane, Principal; Herons Creek Public School
“We are really looking forward to this”. – Phil Harris, Principal; Tacking Point Public School
“We are fully committed to implementing this wonderful program, and thank you for the opportunity”. – Debra Gulliver, Director; Hastings Preschool and Long Day Care Centre
Living our Vision
Our Vision is to make a significant contribution to the quality of community life. The Hastings team is looking forward to the roll out of the WorryWoos program and seeing the results in our community first hand.
To date, the following schools in our region are participating in the WorryWoos program:
Updated 26 June 2018
Since the launch of our Program in May, over 4,000 children in Port Macquarie-Hastings across 19 primary schools, 23 early learning centres and the Werin Aboriginal Centre are now being skilled in learning emotional intelligence. We have been overwhelmed with feedback from teachers and educators saying this program is having such a positive impact only 5 weeks in. Here we share some of the drawings from Hastings Pre-School and Long Day Care Centre.
Our next generation of children will be able to recognise and embrace their emotions through a program, funded by The Westport Club called, “Inspiring Children to Embrace their Emotions with WorryWoos”.
The Worry Woos kits are available to purchase online by anyone, anytime. You can buy individual monster toys or you can buy the whole kit. Find out more information on the WorryWoos by visiting their official website here.