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KIDS' BUSINESS is an inspiring portrayal of young people learning to grapple with their lives head on. The documentary charts the progress of grade 5 and 6 children in a school based, well-being and resilience program called Solving the Jigsaw. Over a year the children explore many life issues including bullying, grief, domestic violence and relationships with parents and peers.
For one hour each week, facilitator Bernadette Wright encourages kids to think about and talk openly about their lives. The children are challenged to discuss their positive qualities, they learn to discuss their feelings and to listen to one another. Importantly they learn a clear language to discuss violence. They learn how to talk about their lives and they learn how to talk to their parents about what matters to them.
Matt wants to spend more time with his dad. He has tried many times but his dad just doesn't seem to have the time. Jess and Hayley haven't seen their great grandpa because of a family feud, and are fearful they may never see him again because he is ill. Jacob is worried that his Dad is angry with him and may not want to see him. Casey is struggling to manage the pattern of aggressive behaviour by her Dad at home and her own behaviour at school.
The children reveal the complexities of their lives and relationships. They see that at times things are difficult in the adult world and they clearly articulate how deeply it can affect them. When Kacee describes witnessing frightening domestic violence, the affect on the kids is clear. Children see violence around them at school, in their community and at home. Due to the complex nature and stigma of violence, children are usually left alone to work out how to manage their feelings and to understand what is going on. The ongoing effects on children can be very damaging, and often impact on the people and community around them.
Bernadette Wright has a very open, practical and non-judgmental approach to working with children. and bridging the boundary between home and school. Kids are encouraged to talk about their feelings, consider what has happened and make decisions about their future. Over the year, the film movingly shows how the kids gain confidence and certainty about what is important in relationships. When they describe their future imagined families the kids highlight communication, the ability to deal with conflict and the importance of love and respect. These are typical kids, not kids 'with problems', yet the classes and one on one sessions show the huge lessons they can learn and potentially carry into their lives.
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