Jacqui Taylor, mother of Madison and Eliza Stella Maris Primary School, Beaumaris

Thank you for a wonderful program.

Initially, Madison was reluctant to take time out from the school holidays to attend however I asked her to make the most of the experience and to have a positive attitude. After the first day, she was pleasantly surprised and said the third day was the “best ever!” Eliza on the other hand quietly took it all in and was constantly sharing small bits of information she had learnt along the way, often using day to day experiences to highlight a point. For example, we were all travelling home in the car and Eliza said “Dad did you know that you sometimes speak over people. It is better if you let them finish before talking” During dinner that night Madison said “Can I please leave the table I’m finished now and you will know that because I have placed my knife and fork together in the centre of the plate.” I did know I’d only been telling her that for years! I was most impressed with the 5 rules of a good handshake and we also continue to practice the word watch with each member of the family accumulating money.

I do believe in good manners however it seems it took an outside influence to finally get through what I had been saying every day for years.

The course isn’t just about good manners. I particularly liked the social awareness element as well as the social skills required to face life. I have been trying to teach my children these things by example and also by constantly saying “Look people in the eye when you’re talking, stand confidently and smile and you will soon have a friend, see that girl playing on her own ask her if she wants to play with you.” but by showing a video, doing role-play, seeing examples and discussing it, the girls have developed a better understanding.

We all want our children to be confident human beings who feel comfortable in social situations and show kindness to people who aren’t. This involves skills that need to be learnt and practised. The Shine course reinforced what I have been trying to teach my children, but did it in a fun, obvious way that really hit home. I have just invested in my children’s future; my children have just spent 3 days learning skills they will use for the rest of their lives. I am extremely happy with the choice to send my girls to Shine. I have already seen the benefits.