South Waikato’s Kiwibank hero
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.