Dads schooled on the importance of fathers

Vivienne Jones visits a school that is helping to empower father figures in students’ lives.

A boy and his father work together at a table building a paper plane
Image: Dad's the way: Building bonds through paper planes.

A primary school on the southern border is taking a hands-on approach to re-engage fathers in their students' schooling life.

Lavington East Public School, on Wiradjuri country, last term welcomed all father figures to school for the launch of The Fathering Project dads group, which aims to improve children’s learning outcomes.

Principal Nic Williams said the project aimed to bring father figures together with the students in a fun and interactive way.

“We’ve been waiting about six months to launch this project because we haven’t been able to have visitors on site due to COVID restrictions,” Mrs Williams said.

“We are very excited to re-engage with our father figures; we aren’t just talking about dads because some of our community don’t have an active dad in their life.

“We are talking about kids with uncles and grandfathers and families with two mums, so if they play that father figure role they are more than welcome as well.

“It is about re-engaging with their children in an active way.”

Mrs Williams said the project was founded in Western Australia to highlight the importance of dads engaging in their child’s life.

“The research does suggest that if father figures are present at school that child’s ability to have more life opportunities increase.”

Mrs Williams said they were aiming to help dads and father figures feel “empowered” to actively support their kids.

“There is a different approach to take with father figures and it is more hands on, less about information in a written form but rather having a talk over a meal or an activity to get that message across,” she said.

“The Fathering Project launch was a tremendous success, with more families than expected attending.

“Dads got to know what the project is all about and enjoyed a positive experience with their children and as a school community.

“We can’t wait for the next event in Term 2.”

Teacher and P&C member Jackson Brodie said he jumped at the chance to get more father figures involved in the school.

“When the opportunity arose to get more dads involved I was really keen and enthusiastic about getting that happening,” he said.

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