Brisbane mum Mandy Stephens likes a chat.
Not the over-the-fence kind with the next door neighbour on what’s for dinner or the like.
Her chats are mainly with children and their parents about puberty and the challenges growing up.
To be more accurate, what the educator and creator of the acclaimed Let’s Chat Education program does talk to them about is healthy and safe bodies; private and public body parts; changes associated with puberty; healthy decision-making; friendships and relationships; self-esteem and body image; the media; fertilisation and reproduction.
All the things most mums and dads want to talk to their growing daughters about but find difficult to do.
That’s where Mandy, 46-year-old mother of a daughter, 15, and two sons, 18 and 8, enters the conversation. And she is more than qualified to do so.
The former social worker specialising in sexuality and relationship education before becoming a classroom teacher before joining the Family Planning Association, created Let’s Chat Education from scratch after being made redundant.
As Mandy puts it, getting let go by the Family Planning Association four years ago turned out to be one of the best things to happen to her.
“It allowed me to follow my passion as an educator and set-up Let’s Chat Education, the framework of which is based on respect, strengths and empowerment with the aim of encouraging communication and enhancing the sense of self and wellbeing in children,” said Mandy.
Since its launch, Let’s Chat Education has steadily grown with hundreds of mothers and their daughters benefitting from the many age-appropriate Let’s Chat Education programs which Mandy personally created.
In addition to the private workshops there are Let’s Chat school programs which have been written in conjunction with both the general capabilities of the Australian Curriculum and the Health and Physical Education shaping paper.
These are opportunities for both parents to gain information to support their children, boys and girls, through their puberty years.
Programs are run in the classroom with the teacher present to ensure continuity of the learning experience.
Mandy finds the Let’s Chat Girls workshops for girls and mothers or carers, is the most rewarding for her.
“This workshop aims to tackle some of the challenges the world is throwing at our girls. Not only must they come to terms with physical changes to their bodies, they also face societal pressures that challenge body image and self-esteem,” she said.
“The main focus with pre-puberty girls is getting in early. It’s very much about being proactive.
“For girls aged 8-10, they love it.”
Mandy said all her workshops are presented in a fun and positive way that encouraged celebration and confidence in the journey to becoming a young woman.
Whether it is the first conversation or one of many, these programs and workshops create positive and interactive opportunities to chat. They are responsive to the diverse needs of individuals and schools and are offered in a variety of contexts.
Check out Let’s Chat Education!
Mandy’s next workshop GIRLS CAN is taking place March 11 @ 2:00 pm – 4:30 pm at Q Roasters, Stafford.
This 2.5 hour workshop is perfect for girls aged 10-14 years.
- I am good enough
- Positive self talk and inner strength building
- Personal safety and self defence
- Identifying your tribe
- Saying NO!
Purchase tickets here.