Rock and Water in Australia

Rock and Water has been used in Australia for more than 20 years and various studies have been conducted into the program. Although these studies are less scientific in nature, they do provide good insight into how Rock and Water is used in different settings and what it has achieved in those settings.

(1) Bringing it together, 22 case studies of Rock and Water in various settings

Ykema, F., Hartman, D., Imms, W., (2006, reprinted in 2014).

Bringing it Together, 22 case studies of Rock and Water in various settings. This book contains effect research and implementations of the Rock and Water program within secondary education, secondary education, aid, refugees/minorities. It was a joint production of the University of Newcastle and the Gadaku Institute / Rock and Water Institute Netherlands.
It was presented to the public at the International Rock and Water Conference.

In Europe the book is available through the Gadaku/Rock and Water Institute.
Via mail [email protected]
Telephone: 0224 213346
Fax 0224 551 659

Cost: € 35,-
In Australia the book is available through the University of Newcastle.

(2) Measuring psycho-social skills development after implementing the R&W program

Langhorn, K. (2008), Masters dissertation – Lecturer Victoria Clay

This study examined the development of psycho- social skills for a small group of junior boys after participating in the Rock and Water program. The psycho-social skills measured included the three foundations skills of Rock and Water: self-control, self-reflection and self-confidence. Also investigated were self-respect and general social skills. Several assessments were conducted one of which was the ASEBA (pre and post implementation). Multi cross informants were used. Results showed positive outcomes post intervention and suggestions for future study are explored.


(3) The Rock and Water program. Empowering youth workers and clients

Raymond, I. (2005), Youth Studies Australia v.24 n.4: 34-39.

The results of the case study provide strong preliminary support for the hypothesis that the Rock and Water program represents a “tool” that can mutually engage both young people and youth workers within a residential care system. For children in care, the Rock and Water program provides an opportunity to develop self-management and personal control skills, and, in doing so, skills that foster personal empowerment.

Although additional evidence of longstanding benefits is required, nonetheless the program’s treatment goals represent important targets for change for children within the alternative care setting (Wilson 2000). The experience of workers involved in the case study also suggests that the Rock and Water program can galvanise youth worker interest and utilise their abilities in a manner that has translatable benefits to the young people they service. Within the residential care setting, the program represents a form of innovative practice youth workers can employ with young people within a “proactive”, as opposed to a crisis management or “reactive”, framework. This has important flow-on effects including improving job satisfaction and staff–client relationships, reducing stress and burnout and, ultimately, fostering empowerment within the workplace.

These factors are central to reducing workplace turnover, an area of considerable importance to the social welfare discipline in general (Barak, Nissly & Levin 2001). A range of secondary effects are also worth considering when evaluating the overall effectiveness of the Rock and Water program within a residential care system. For instance, staff and client empowerment, positive staff–client relations and improved youth worker job satisfaction and stability are all factors that are significantly linked to the development of secure attachment patterns between clients and youth workers (Wilson 2000). By galvanising a child’s resilience to cope with previous abuse, neglect and instability, this attachment pattern has significant therapeutic benefits (Moses 2000; Ungar 2004). For this reason, preliminary evidence suggests that the Rock and Water program has achieved benefits that extend beyond the program’s stated aims. This article represents a first attempt to systematically evaluate and understand the Rock and Water program.


(4) Cowandilla Primary School – Program overview and qualitative Evaluation program

Brenton, T., Cenuich A., Raymond, I. (2009)

The Rock & Water program is a “tool” that has demonstrated the ability to target important developmental needs of children and young people; most notably key social and emotional needs that underpin both behavioural functioning and student wellbeing. A feature of the Rock& Water program is that learning occurs in a manner and style (e.g., fun, experiential and action orientated) that increases the child’s responsiveness to the learning message. Prior to this evaluation, there has been strong anecdotal and qualitative evaluation support for the application of the program for promoting the social-emotional wellbeing of young people within educational, child protection, juvenile justice and youth support settings.

This evaluation indicates that the Rock & Water program, when delivered in the manner and style as indicated within this report, has the potential to have a significant positive impact on children and young people from new arrival backgrounds. This cohort of children is more likely to have experienced significant instability and possible trauma within their early development. Such instability has the potential to have a negative mediating impact on a child’s ability to regulate their emotions and engage in a “stop-think and do” response to emotional triggers. Children and young people from these backgrounds often function from higher levels of stress, fear and arousal (Perry, 2004). Furthermore, the current program was delivered in a manner that fostered play, safety and secure attachment relationship development, and was inclusive of a whole-of-school approach. These aspects are the cornerstone of working with all children and young people, but most importantly, young people with backgrounds of trauma and insecurity. Play is the medium by which children learn a range of social and emotional skills fundamental to their development. It is likely that many new arrival children have missed out on some play-based experiences, therefore, a tool like Rock & Water, when delivered in safe but playful manner, has the potential to increase resilience and student wellbeing. Together, the evaluation indicates that the current program achieved many of the goals it set out to do.

Considering that new arrival students potentially represent a difficult cohort to engage around key developmental needs, the fact that the program achieved high levels of engagement and many students were able to articulate the key learning outcomes, some of the program’s skills appear to have been generalised. Overall, the evaluation indicates that the Rock & Water program, when delivered in a manner that fosters safe, playful and secure attachment relationships, and is delivered from a “whole-of-school approach”, has the potential to be the catalyst for increasing the resilience and wellbeing of new arrival students.


(5)Murraylands – Program overview and qualitative evaluation

Raymond, I. (2008)

Two Rock and Water programs were conducted by Connected Self psychologist, Ivan Raymond, for male and female young people within the Murraylands region from May to July 2008. The programs were supported by the Department of Education and Children’s Services (DECS), Families SA, Headspace, District Council of Murray Bridge, Lower Murray Nungas’ Club, Country Health SA and Anglican Community Care (ACC). The programs were designed as a pilot initiative. This evaluation reviews the programs, summarises the qualitative evaluation and provides recommendations for future programming. As the author delivered both programs, this evaluation cannot be seen as truly independent, however, the evaluation has been conducted in a manner consistent with the author’s professional affiliations.


(6) Elizabeth Vale – Program overview and qualitative evaluation

Brenton, T., Cenuich A., Raymond, I. (2009)

A whole school approach to the Rock & Water program was conducted by Connected Self program facilitator, Tim Brenton, for the New Arrival Program (NAP) students of Elizabeth Vale primary school. This evaluation reviews the program, summarises the qualitative evaluation and provides recommendations for future programming. The evaluation has had contributions from Tim Brenton (program facilitator), Andrew Cenuich (program reviewer) and Ivan Raymond (psychologist).


(7) Rock Water Evaluation Report 2003-2004

Dr. D. Hartman (2004)

This report is about a process evaluation of the content and method of implementation of the ‘Rock and Water program’ and the satisfaction of the (future) implementers, carried out by the University of Newcastle. Furthermore, the implementation of the R&W program within schools is briefly discussed. The ‘Rock and Water program’ is an English translation of the Rock and Water program and is largely identical in content, method and form to the contemporary Dutch Rock and Water basic program.

Because there was a strong need for programs aimed at boys in Australia (in 2003), the focus of the program at the time was more on boys, but it was also used for girls. In 2003, twenty three-day Rock and Water seminars were organized in which 673 teachers/care providers were trained as Rock and Water basic trainers by the developer F. Ykema. After each training, the participants were asked to complete an extensive written evaluation form. From these 673 forms, 100 forms were randomly examined and analyzed. 56% of the respondents were men, 44% women.

More than 90% of the participants want to work with young people aged 10-12 years and/or 13-18 years with the R&W program. The themes that emerged in the training were: Standing strong, the rock and water attitude on the physical, mental and social level, dealing with peer pressure and bullying, breathing power and self-control, body language, feeling, respecting and setting boundaries, the inner compass, sexuality and personal development.

83% of respondents indicated that the program fully met expectations and classified the program as excellent, 15% as good, 2% did not answer the question. 83% of the participants want to work with the R&W program at school and 79% of the participants want to do this together with colleagues. The majority indicated that they intended to offer the program in gender-specific groups. However, there was recognition of the relevance of the program for both boys and girls and the ability of the program to be adapted for use with different groups. ‘I can think of many students, boys and girls, at my school who would benefit from this programme. It has great potential!’

The strengths that emerged most often were the balance between theory and practice, the physical character, the practical orientation and usability and the characteristics and presentation style of the Master Trainer. The evaluations also showed that the training had an impact on the personal development of the participants, in particular: personal growth, satisfaction, centering, belief in one’s own abilities, and the ability to apply the principles outside the classroom.

Points for improvement that emerged from the evaluations were that participants think it is important that there is formal recognition and/or that the program is supported by the Ministry of Education so that the program can be used even more widely. Other areas for improvement are improving the video material into English, making an instructional video, and conducting research so that (for example) school directors can see the benefits of the program (even) more clearly.

In conclusion, it is reported that the majority of teachers who have already worked with the program have been able to successfully implement the R&W program for boys and girls in primary and secondary education and in youth centers. Several evaluations have taken place in schools which show, with a certain degree of confidence, that the program is achieving its goals (namely; increased self-control, self-confidence, improved social skills, increasing awareness of oneself and others and skills to deal with difficult situations to deal with). Moreover, it turned out that the R&W program can be well integrated in various ways within the school curriculum and the PDHPE (Personal development, health and physical education).