Meet Zelna Lauwrens, our Founder and Director
Affectionately known as Zelna Zeal by the children she comes into contact with, Zelna has over two decades experience working with thousands of children and teenagers from all backgrounds, circumstances and demographics.
Zelna Lauwrens, founder and director of The Kids Life Studio® Global Group and The Kids Life Coach Academy School is a child motivation specialist with a background as a teacher, counsellor, university lecturer and a Kids Life Coach.
Her experience is diverse and she has personally proven that her coaching model works in a variety of settings with a variety of children irrelevant of circumstances.
She has worked with street children, children who have been trafficked, bipolar teens, children of foreign diplomats, sexually abused girls and children with famous parents.
She believes that every child can create a legacy of their own, regardless of their background, circumstances or abilities.
No matter how big or small their dreams are, with hope fuelling their desire Zelna believes children can step into their power.
Where did it all begin?
Zelna started off as a teacher in 1996 in a remedial school for children with learning difficulties. It was there that she realised her love for children traditionally classified as having “problems”.
She is an advocate for progressive solutions that focus on nurturing leadership potential in children rather than focusing on what is going wrong and trying to fix it.
Her real turning point came when she worked as a supply teacher in London at the turn of the millennium.
Appointed in a short-term role to work with 10 behaviourally challenged children in preparation for the Ofsted exams, she quickly realised that the problems she had seen with regards to self-esteem relating to learning difficulties were not unique.
It was here that she first realised there was a need for additional support that children weren’t getting in the classroom. This inspired her and planted the seed that at the time she didn’t realise would grow into a global network of Kids Life Studio® coaches as it is today.
What happened next?
Zelna started officially exploring Kids Life Coaching in 2003 when she was teaching at a top private school in South Africa.
As the newly appointed Life Skills teacher, her task was to design and develop a brand new whole school curriculum that focused on emotional and social intelligence.
She also became heavily involved in combating bullying in the school and designed and implemented a comprehensive anti-Bullying policy.
This was when she started researching all the programmes available and realised that there were none focused specifically on Life Coaching for children.
She created her Play Based Coaching Model® by extracting and combining all of the best parts of 6 methodologies, and adapting them to fit the needs of children.
She saw value in each methodology but felt that they needed to work in correlation rather than in isolation.
Innovation and forward thinking
As the first practicing Kids Life Coach in South Africa, she soon gained recognition for her pioneering work and gained extensive media attention.
This led to an interest from various professionals to pursue a similar career which is how The Kids Life Studio® evolved into an organisation with a network of certified Kids Life Studio Coaches who share Zelna’s keen passion for team work.
In 2014, when she moved to the United Kingdom Zelna re-engineered her business to include her online school The Kids Life Coach Academy which has been the biggest contributing factor to the global expansion of her programmes.
Her Coaching model is now being used around the world in countries as diverse as Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Norway, Hungary, Portugal, Australia, South Africa, North America, England and Kenya.
- Bachelor of Education Degree with 14 years classroom experience
- Honours Degree in Psychology of Education and worked as school Counsellor
- Masters in Clinical Child Psychology
- Life Skills Teacher for 3 years – designing and implementing a brand new curriculum and bullying policy in a top private school group in South Africa
- Headed up the school Guidance Advisory Team focusing on solution oriented outcomes for children with emotional, social and intellectual difficulties.
- University lecturer for Bachelor of Education Students focusing on Inclusive Education, Behavioural Studies, Health & Social Development
- Motivational Programme & Product Developer leading the market launch of new products inclusive of CD’s, puppet range as well as school-based training programmes
- Advisor for the Future Global Leaders Forum enabling University students to learn together and build the skills, mindset and cultural agility needed to drive positive change globally
- Finalist in Business Woman of the Year in the Youth Mover and Shaker Category for work with street children in South Africa
- Voting member of the World Federation for Mental Health
- Author of 4 Motivational Books aimed at Children, Teens, Parents & Professionals
- Presentation of Research Papers at 2nd Global Childhood Conference at Oxford University & Edu Connect Conference in Barcelona
- British Psychological Association annual conference for the Division of Child & Educational Psychologists workshop presentation on the “Labelling of Children”
- Conceptualization & Implementation of Corporate Social Responsibility Projects and fund raising for opening pro bono Kids Life Studio venues
- Invited as Research Fellow for Queen Mary University London and part of their Global Policy Institute initiative
- Contributor to UK India partnership global Family Resilience Research Project with direct impact on all Commonwealth Countries
- Awarded title of “Iconic Women Creating a Better World for All” by the Women Economic Forum
- Regular Guest slot on Cambridge 105 Radio as the local expert on family and child related topics
- Presented as a guest speaker in Parliament in England on International Day of Innnocent Child Victims of Aggression
- Honorary Fellowship (FHEA) for Teaching Excellence in Higher Education
The Secret Parent
Kids Life Coach, Zelna Zeal, sheds light on the painful issue of what it means to have a fundamental choice taken away – the choice of being a biological parent.
In this eye opening snapshot of her views on life, parenting and childhood, she whispers out loud the secrets which once held her back from finding and living her purpose fully. This gripping and poignant book reveals the previously hidden story behind her lonely and challenging healing journey through being childless, depressed and labelled as mentally ill.
As she travels this road, she shares the interwoven stories of other peoples’ children whom she had the privilege of coaching. All of them have two things in common; they rebranded their childhood by learning how to make better choices relating to the parts of their lives they were able to control. These children were the inspiration behind Zelna finding the strength to do the same.
Full of uncomfortable truths, “The Secret Parent” shows you that your real worth is derived from who you choose to be, even when life has different ideas for you.