Central to an enjoyable and meaningful community life is a stable home. Children and residents live in ‘family-like’ houses, scattered around the Community farm sites, with live-in support workers providing assistance and guidance. A further five houses are in the wider community, providing opportunity for greater independence.
Home life is the centre of any child’s life, so creating a ‘family feeling’ is very important for children to derive the fullest benefit from coming to a residential school. This family group philosophy continues as residents grow through teenage/young adolescent age and adulthood.
To achieve this family atmosphere, a ‘house parent’, or house manager, lives in accommodation attached to each residential home, often with their own family, including their children. A range of support staff assist individuals, assisting with morning or evening management and providing an ‘awake’ presence throughout the night.
Residents are involved in helping with home duties, and have their own bedroom to ‘make their own’.
This environment provides the beginning for children developing social confidence and independence. The time spent in the house is essential for acquiring the skills and maturity needed for life: dressing, toileting and hygiene, table manners, household tasks and the gradual growth towards personal maturity and independence.
The effort put in by the children is often huge in comparison with the apparent result. For example tying a shoelace may be a triumph for one child, whilst sitting still and attending for five minutes is a great achievement for another. Helping another less able child may be the goal for a self-centred child.
Workers in the houses are all trained to understand these developments, and how best to support.
Links between home-life and the school or vocational life is coordinated through ‘individual life-plans so that the curative education and social therapy principles are applied to all aspects of the resident’s life.
Maintaining links to parents at home and their wider family are important, both during the term time (through phone calls, letters and visits to Hohepa by the family) and to ensure a secure and loving base to return to in the holidays.
Independent agents regularly audit our practices to ensure safety, and programme quality.
If your child joins the school at Hohepa, you will soon form a close working relationship with the house parents.
For enquiries about residential services, or possible enrolment into the Hohepa Community and school, apply to The Residential Manager, Hohepa Hawke’s Bay.