Tōkū Kainga Kids with Ruby Gibbs

Tōkū Kainga Kids was started by Bryony Wilson and Ruby Gibbs. We aim to provide a safe, supportive, and encouraging space for children with special needs or those who don’t easily fit into other groups.

After spending the last few years working as teacher aides at a specialist school in Hamilton, we realised our community had no similar offering. We wanted to focus our skills here in Whāingaroa. Ruby was born and raised in Raglan. She achieved a postgraduate degree in psychology, specialising in behavioural analysis, before leaving Raglan to travel the world. She returned home in 2020 due to the pandemic. Bryony was raised in Hamilton but settled in Raglan a few years ago. She also spent her 20s travelling the world before discovering a passion for psychology. She is completing her Master’s at the University of Waikato, focusing on children with autism spectrum disorder.  

We started our programme at the beginning of January and have been running it on Wednesdays and Thursdays with a group of up to seven kids each day, ranging in age from 5 to 15, with varying needs. You may have seen us out and about in the community as we explored our backyard. We spent our days running around the Wainui Bush Park collecting supplies for art projects, building bridges across the creeks and practising our knot-tying. We also took advantage of the sunny days to explore the many swimming spots around Whāingaroa. On the days when the weather didn’t cooperate, we worked as a team to bake cakes, create art projects and do science experiments. While we had a busy schedule, we focused on helping these kids develop problem-solving and social skills and spend time with their peers in a safe space. 

The most rewarding aspect for us was watching these kids learn about themselves and each other and form genuine bonds. At Tōkū Kainga Kids, we believe that every child has the ability to connect, but for some, this looks different or takes more time. Being surrounded by their peers in smaller groups creates opportunities for individual growth and social learning for these children. We aim to foster a safe, non-judgmental environment where these kids can thrive. 

Now that the holidays are ending, we will offer a one-day-a-week programme during the term. We will continue fostering social connections in smaller, specialised groups while working on individual development goals. We have spaces available if this sounds like a good fit for you and your child. 

Finally, we are grateful for our sponsors, Jamie at PKF Hamilton and Sue at Bizworx Raglan. We appreciate your support and trust in our vision. If you or your business would be interested in sponsorship opportunities, please get in touch. 

For all enquiries, please get in touch with us at tokukaingakids@gmail.com.

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