The Forres School Project

Forres School is a pre- and primary school in Rondebosch. It is one of the first schools to pioneer and light up with Narrative Practice as whole school community practice in South Africa. It has a strong Narrative Practice track record spanning over the past 10 years where Linda has worked alongside Kim van der Hoven (Director at Forres) and continues to consult to the school on an ongoing basis. Over time, Narrative Practice has become the guiding/central ethos of the school in all areas of development and management. To this end, Narrative Practice is trained at the school on an ongoing basis with all staff required to participate and orientate their thinking along Narrative Practice principles. Ongoing weekly Narrative Mentoring and Coaching is provided to support staff, pupils and parents in finding better narratives to work towards for the children (and families) in their care. Ground-breaking work is being done at the school in providing co-mentoring sessions to support staff  in finding best and appropriate ways of working with tricky problems that they and/or children may be needing to outsmart.

The Belongingness Project

The Belongingness Project developed in response to a need to find meaningful, relevant and pro-active ways of responding to some of the bigger questions and stories at the school: how to work with societal ideas of “the other”, including specific questions how to address for example, Diversity, Transformation, Discipline, Bullying, Ableism, Success … from a Narrative Practice orientation. Because we work in an ever-changing society, and a school reflects this society, the development of this exciting project is of necessity ongoing initiative and conversation at the school. Not a week goes by where a new question pops up for the school find wisdom on and to respond to. Linda, Kim and Kim’s dedicated team engage in regular development work on what has now become known as The Belongingness Project. To date there are a number of workshops that have been developed and are integrated into the Life Orientation programs at the school that offer a Narrative Practice response to these questions. Engaging the support of her dynamic, supportive team, Kim works thoughtfully and tirelessly, hoping to ensure that no child, family or member of staff should experience that terrible sense of un-belongingness in this vibrant school community. 

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Belongingness Project in Action

Kim van der Hoven (right), the director of Forres School in Rondebosch, and Linda van Duuren co-presented their Belongingness Project on the 7th of November, 2018 to a Narrative consultation and supervision group in Somerset West. The group is run by dr. Elize Morkel. Kim and Linda’s presentation also included whole school Narrative practices.

Elize shared a beautiful letter about her experience of the Belongingness Project.

Read it below.

Dear colleagues,
Wow! We really ended our consultation group meeting on a high note. Linda and Kim’s presentation on the Belongingness Project at Forres School was a great joy and inspiration. It took me right back to the very reason why I felt so attracted to Narrative Therapy in the first place – I truly believe in the transformative power of this work in all of our communities. I was stunned at the innovative ways in which you apply ideas like wonderfulness interviews, storybook, legacy stories, the invitation to responsibility, and witnessing in the school community. Your leadership for transformation and inclusion in the school moved me deeply, Kim. It clearly comes from a place of deep personal commitment. I was impressed by your knowledge of human rights violations in the history of the world, and the processes required to address these as collectives and on a very personal and individual basis. Thank you to both of you for your inspiring example of commitment to justice and your willingness to learn, to implement, and to reflect and improve your practices. The embodiment of our beliefs is the most challenging and risky as it requires so much personal soul searching that often leads to shameful discoveries and challenges. Thank you for your honesty, and for sharing your personal pain along the road of learning and growing in awareness with us.
— Dr. Elize Morkel