ORIGINS OF THE ROCK AND WATER PROGRAMME
In the mid 1990s, Mr Freerk Ykema (pictured), a school teacher from the Netherlands, became passionate about finding a programme that would assist in reducing the level of sexual violence, crime and aggression perpetuated by teenage boys.
Freerk noted that there was a lack of meaningful programmes that targeted key aspects of young men's development, notably:
Verbal and emotional expression
Physical boundaries and personal safety
Emotional and behavioural regulation
Skills required to respond to and manage aggressive tendencies in both themselves and others
Mr Ykema wrote the Rock and Water programme to work with young people to address those concerns.
Rock and Water gained recognition and awards as an outstanding educational program in the Netherlands. In 1999, Freerk was invited to visit University of Newcastle, Australia by Richard Fletcher, at the Family Action Centre, to present at a National Conference on Boys Education. Freerk held his first 3 Day Workshop after the conference and so began a movement that has seen over 50,000 educators and professionals trained in the Rock and Water programme from over 25 countries with more than 2.5 million young people taught.
The ongoing success of the programme led to the development of specialised programmes including: Focus on Girls and Young Women, Children Living with ASD, and Primary Schools, and more recently Trauma/Abuse and Physical Impairments.
There are numerous articles and positive impact studies in various settings using the Rock and Water Programme to support social and emotional development in children, young people and adults.