Kendra Kotz shares fellowship journey

GUEST: Zonta Club of Port Lincoln president Jo Hay with special guest Kendra Kotz. Photo: supplied

GUEST: Zonta Club of Port Lincoln president Jo Hay with special guest Kendra Kotz. Photo: supplied

We were very privileged to meet the delightful local psychologist and Churchill Fellow Kendra Kotz, at our August meeting.

Ms Kotz is a Port Lincoln local, having grown up in the district and now working on the Lower Eyre Peninsula as a psychologist for the Department of Education, in an assessment and consultation role.

The Churchill Fellowship is awarded to 100 Australians each year and it supports recipients of the fellowship to travel overseas to investigate their passion project.

Some of the projects which have been supported by the fellowship include intergenerational play; burial sites for indigenous soldiers, women experiencing and escaping domestic financial abuse, novel therapy for epilepsy and brain tumours, and Japanese drumming for people living with dementia.

Ms Kotz was awarded a fellowship in 2018, and subsequently travelled in 2019 to study her passion of inclusive education, with a particular interest in exploring how barriers and challenges had been overcome in the past 50 years and, establishing what works and what does not in an educational setting.

Ms Kotz shared some of her most memorable experiences including the merging of lessons between private and public schools in Crespinell, the use of special learning labs in Bologna, the invention of a work café in Sweden and early intervention centres in Spain and Portugal.

Since returning to Australia, Ms Kotz has been busy finishing her fellowship report which includes details of her experiences and recommendations from her learning. This will be available on the Churchill Fellowship website for viewing.

Ms Kotz summarised her learning by sharing that inclusive education is a value, not a goal. It is an ongoing process, not a state or a place to achieve. Inclusion is a journey, we can never fully arrive as we can always become more inclusive.

Our next dinner meeting will be on September 22 with guest speaker Jenny Podorozhnaya from Positive Future Self, 6pm for a 6.30pm start. RSVP through Facebook.