fotogezicht avoordeurFor this article I spoke with Patricia Witteveen, the face behind “Boost Kindercoaching”. I could tell why children and their parents immediately feel at ease with kind-hearted Patricia and her enthousiasm for her work.

“I studied pedagogics and at the teachers training college and I took a training for children’s coach,” she told me. “For 20 years I lived abroad. My ex-husband worked  for Shell in various countries and whenever possible I worked there at the international schools. After that I worked for 15 years at a school in the Schilderswijk. There I had to deal with unemployment, drugs, broken families, mothers in the prostitution, etc. Not always easy, but certainly fascinating and satisfactory work.

“In recent years pressure mounted  and demands on teachers became so high that I lost my love for the work, because I had no time to give the children and their parents the attention they so desperately need. I am now a certified children’s coach and I want to bridge the gap between the school and the existing aid. I do not focuss on what children ‘cannot’ do but instead I look for the possibilities they have. I give viewpoints that parents can work with, together with their child. I treat children with respect; when you give a child your attention and take it seriously you will see it flourish.

“I always start with an interview. The coaching route I do with child and parents together. When I notice that the child feels inhibited I ask the parent(s) to go to the other room for a while. Many children find it difficult to talk, so I let them draw or I play a game with them. In drawing they can often express their emotions.

“I meet with many highly intelligent children who need to develop extra social skills. Quite a number of the children that I coach have been bullied for years and I must say that I feel for them. I want to help children to be strong and resilient, by means of both group training and individual coaching. The group training is for children in the age of 8 – 12 years old. I give the individual training ‘Bikkels in de Dop’ (fire-eaters in the becoming) for self-confidence, more self-esteem, recognizing your strong points, how to prevent bullying. And I give a training for fear-of-failure that I call ‘Koele Bikkels’ (cool fire-eaters), where I train them to see things in perspective, think differently and to relax. A training is six sessions of 1,5 hours each.

“The individual coaching is meant for children between 6 and 12 years old, who suffer from low self-esteem, shyness, anxiety, who do not know how to make friends, or are full of anger and aggression, or have sleeping- and eating problems. I teach them social skills that belong to their age and provide an insight into their problem. And sometimes I coach parents in bringing up their children. I definitely choose for short routes.

“I intentionally named my practice ‘Boost’, because I think that many parents and children can do with a boost in their problems with bringing up and growing up. I started my practice 7 months ago and it runs well. Word-of-mouth advertising works well and I think that my educational career is an added value, plus the fact that I am a bit older.”

Would you like to meet ‘Boost Kindercoaching’? The address is Riouwstraat 139 and Patricia can be reached at  06-18879812.

11 August 2016, Josephine de Vijlder  (MM)