Tararua Reap is facilitating a number of high-level workshops for parents and teachers that will focus on the issues of child development and online safety.
Reap general manager Claire Chapman said external expertise was being brought into Tararua to help grow and support the community with any problems people may face.
"We hope these workshops will help people understand what is going on in our kids' heads."
She said Reap was pleased to facilitate events that were at a higher level.
"We are aware of the needs that are out there and how we can deliver what is needed. The needs of the community are changing and we have to meet those needs."
The first workshop is entitled The Neuroscience of Child Development and is ideal for parents, caregivers or grandparents.
Leading the workshop is tutor Kathryn Berkett who has a masters in educational psychology, and has certified as a neurosequential model of therapeutics practitioner.
Berkett has extensive experience in this area having worked and trained, nationally and internationally, on neuroscience for more than 15 years, delivering to a variety of organisations including primary and secondary teachers, police, Child Youth and Family, prisons, kindergartens, parents, recreation groups, mental health professionals, politicians and corporates.
Berkett says all development is influenced by the early years, still known as such an essential developmental stage.
The workshop will cover how experience can affect the development of a child's brain and how to increase a child's resilience.
Berkett will raise awareness of what aspects and effect the early environment has on a child's development. She will also explore what a positive environment looks like, which is important in supporting children to develop to their full potential.
"By covering the early development and the reorganisation that occurs in adolescence, these workshops will give you a better understanding of what is going on for the children or the young people you work with. This up-to-date information will arm you with more tools and options for your interactions with them.
"Through understanding the brain and how we neurologically and physiologically develop and react, we can become more adept at working with and inspiring our children, youth, colleagues and whānau."
Berkett will hold a second workshop for teachers.
Next on the Reap programme is a Virtual Reality Crash Course for Adults.
The three-hour course is designed for parents, teachers or interested adults to learn the basics of design and coding and is being delivered by Auckland company VR Voom.
It is an introduction to the opportunities that are opening up in this new virtual reality frontier.
A second workshop will provide Year 7-8 students with highly engaging learning opportunities in virtual reality experience, basic programming, computational thinking and they get to playtest a virtual reality experience.
Those taking part in these sessions will need to bring a Windows laptop, a charger and mouse.
The final sessions will be facilitated by Rob and Zareen Cope. The first is an online safety information evening for teachers and this will be followed by an open information session.
Two years ago the Copes were researching the pros and cons of children having handheld devices. Their research led them to some startling discoveries, in particular, around children's exposure to online pornography and predators.
They discovered that children, from all walks of life and from very young ages, were accessing pornography either by accident, through curiosity or by being shown it by other children.
The information sessions will help parents, caregivers and teachers to understand the harm children are facing online in relation to pornography, predators and social media access.
They will give practical solutions to keeping children safer online and give advice on healthy ways to approach these topics as well as what to do if a child has been exposed to something harmful.
They will also include an online safety plan tailored to suit the needs of schools.
Contact Tararua Reap to register for any of these programmes, which are all free.
The child development course for parents will be held on Thursday April 29 from 7-9pm at The Hub, Gordon St, Dannevirke. The course for teachers will be held on Friday April 30 from 9am to 3pm at The Hub.
The VR crash course for adults will be held on Thursday May 13 from 5.30 to 8.30pm in the Tararua Reap office.
The programming course will be held on May 13 or 14 from 9.30am until 4pm in the Reap office.
The online safety session for teachers will be held at The Hub on Tuesday May 25 from 4pm to 6pm and the open session will be held from 7pm to 8.30pm. Those wishing to attend these sessions will need to register by May 18.