UOW social and emotional learning program boosted by business innovation initiative
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UOW social and emotional learning program boosted by business innovation initiative

by Freya Lucas

August 14, 2019

A University of Wollongong (UOW) education program, designed to support children to grow and develop their social and emotional learning capacity, has been given an additional layer of surety through an independent evaluation provided through the NSW Government’s Boosting Business Innovation Program.


The Quirky KidThe Best of Friendsprogram has had its efficacy independently evaluated through a project with UOW’s Advantage SME, which is in turn supported by the NSW Government’s innovation program. 


The ‘Boost’ program, NSW Treasury Executive Director of Trade and Investment Kylie Bell said, helped innovative small businesses tap into the research knowledge of NSW universities and the CSIRO.


“The Boost program allows entrepreneurs to tap into the top-notch research provided by our universities to create new products that can be taken to national and international markets,” she noted.


Dr Kimberley O’Brien, CEO of Quirky Kid, said the organisation, which currently runs clinics in two NSW locations, now hoped to make The Best of Friends program available nationally and overseas after getting it further validated through the Boost project.


The Best of Friends program, which works with children aged seven to eleven, teaches children how to make and maintain positive friendships; develop empathy and communication skills; recognise, express and manage their emotions; and, negotiate and resolve conflicts.


“It also teaches them to work independently and co-operatively; increase resilience and be assertive; share ideas and appreciate diverse perspectives; and, develop teamwork and leadership skills,” Dr O’Brien said.


Speaking on behalf of UOW’s School of Education, Dr Noelene Weatherby-Fell said the further independent valuation of The Best of Friends program will support the resource to be embedded into education settings.


“The program resource was very exciting in its intention and presentation, however, it was our task to evaluate the program using both quantitative and qualitative data collection methods,” Dr Weatherby-Fell said.


“Ten final-year pre-service teachers from our Bachelor of Primary Education program were trained as program facilitators to deliver The Best of Friends program. Students and parents or carers provided responses to questionnaires and gave feedback as part of our independent evaluation.”


For more information about Quirky Kid, please see here. For information specific to The Best of Friends, see here

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