South Waikato’s Ki­wibank hero

South Waikato News - - Your Health - LUKE KIRKEBY

It’s from One News’ Good Sorts to po­ten­tially being Ki­wibank’s New Zealand Lo­cal Hero of the Year for Tokoroa’s Fran Thomp­son-stevens.

The baby­be­ings founder, who ear­lier this year fea­tured on Good Sorts due to the pos­i­tive im­pact her in­no­va­tive par­ent, baby and tod­dler classes have made, has now been nom­i­nated for the Ki­wibank award.

Her free classes fol­low the ap­proach of renowned Hun­gar­ian pe­di­a­tri­cian Emmi Pik­ler who opened an or­phan­age in Hun­gary af­ter World War II.

She be­lieved chil­dren were ca­pa­ble be­ings right from birth and that through ob­ser­va­tion and ef­fec­tive com­mu­ni­ca­tion they could de­velop in their own way rather than into who par­ents think they are.

Thomp­son-stevens has im­ple­mented that think­ing into her own weekly ses­sions for the past eight years with the help of fel­low par­ent ed­u­ca­tor Levi Maineka­iariki Sikking.

Ki­wibank re­ceived 600 nom­i­na­tions for the lo­cal hero cat­e­gory from which 350 were awarded medals dur­ing re­gional cer­e­monies. In the Waikato Thomp­son­stevens was one of 19.

‘‘I felt pretty honoured re­ally, it was a big sur­prise that came in my in­box,’’ she said.

‘‘At first I didn’t be­lieve it, which

‘‘The lo­ca­tion that Fran pro­vides is a magical place where par­ents and care­givers can go’’

was the same with Good Sorts, I thought some­one was jok­ing me.’’

‘‘I told one of my friends and Levi and they were over­joyed for me. It was pretty awe­some,’’ she said.

A special medal pre­sen­ta­tion cer­e­mony was held in Hamil­ton fol­low­ing the an­nounce­ment and two car loads of par­ents Thomp­son-stevens has helped, ac­com­pa­nied her.

One of those par­ents An­drea Batch­e­lor said Thomp­son-stevens had made a sig­nif­i­cant dif­fer­ence.

‘‘I am a mum who has at­tended baby­be­ings with all three of my chil­dren over the last six years and still cur­rently at­tend with my youngest. The lo­ca­tion that Fran pro­vides is a magical place where par­ents and care­givers can go to learn about their ba­bies and find sup­port and friend­ship from those they are learn­ing along­side,’’ she said.

‘‘It is an en­vi­ron­ment free of mother com­pe­ti­tion and it val­ues and sup­ports the work that we do as par­ents.’’

Judges will now choose 10 semi fi­nal­ists which are ex­pected to be an­nounced mid De­cem­ber.

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