School's Out, Dad's About (PDF Download)

... and other Who Let the Dads Out? follow-on ideas

Mark Chester

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From the founder of Who Let The Dads Out?, this book gives you all the information you need to run the following activities for dads and other male carers.

School's Out, Dad's About!
When children get too old for Who Let the Dads Out?, a SODA club provides dads and their Reception to Year 2 children with the opportunity to have fun together and mix with other families.

Daddy Cool!
A five-session parenting programme for those attending Who Let the Dads Out? and SODA clubs. It's about food, activity, competition and facing up to the challenges of being a dad.

Soul Man?
A discussion group that offers dads the chance to think about their beliefs and values. There is a place for those who don't believe in God at all, those who are not sure and those who do believe in God but are still working out what that means for them.

Download a PDF containing handouts and session assignments


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Author info

Mark Chester is the Founder of Who Let The Dads Out? and joined the BRF staff team in July 2013 to support the growth of the movement. He is a writer, speaker and consultant specialising in fatherhood, with a ministry to turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers.


From The Good Bookstall - August 2012

So ok I'm not a dad, I'm not a mum either come to that, but I do know many fathers who adore their children and really want to spend more time with them, but don't always get the chance to do so.

This book offers a great way that dads and their children can get together, along with other fathers and their children in a great environment the likes of which are normally associated with mums and their children.

This is a follow on book to Who let the Dad's Out? and offers a new after school club initiative Schools Out Dad's About. It also offers a five session parenting programme for fathers with solid session outlines dealing with essential issues involved in parenting and growing as a parent: issues such as 'leaving a legacy', 'making memories' & 'inspiring respect'. What's great about these sessions is that they are not preachy, religious or touchy feely but are instead down to earth, cleanly presented and really accessible.

The next sessions after the 'Daddy Cool' parenting classes are the 'Soul Man' Sessions, six sessions that are more aimed at moving into a consideration of the spiritual - but again clear clean sessions, simple (but profound) topics covered in an excellent way - now ok they are aimed at fathers, but really these sessions are just so excellent that they would work brilliantly with any group - and that older teen group? Oh I can so see these working well there too!

This is an excellent resource and one that churches should pick up and consider using to set up a group for the fathers in their church and area's soon!

Reviewed by Melanie Carroll

From The Church Times - June 2012

An increasing number of churches seek ways to restore connections with men. Typically, these initiatives involve sport, food, discussion, and beer. How refreshing, therefore, to discover Mark Chester's two books.

Who Let the Dads Out? and its companion School's Out Dad's About offer churches inspiration and practical ideas for engagement with dads and their young children. Chester, who works as a community family officer at Liverpool Football Club, argues that "if we want to see faith in God passed down through generations of families", then we must make a determined effort to "reach out and support relationships between fathers and children".

The first book begins with a short section exploring the importance of fatherhood, and identifying some of the obstacles that men face today in finding faith. It is a helpful introduction, but not much more.

The second section tells the story of the first Who Let the Dads Out? sessions (described as like mums and toddlers with bacon butties and newspapers), led by Chester at his church in Hoole, Cheshire; it leads into some useful practical guidance about setting up such a group. The book concludes with a craft idea for each month of the year.

The second book describes three further initiatives that will help churches develop the contacts made through father-and-toddler groups: School's Out Dad's About, a club for fathers and infant-school-age children; Daddy Cool!, a five-session parenting programme; and Soul Man?, a group where men can discuss faith. The book is full of ideas and practical guidance, and it is rooted in experience.

These two books do not provide an in-depth look at fatherhood, or a nuanced exploration of male spirituality. Indeed, they are somewhat superficial and often frustratingly brief. Not all fathers or male carers will have the time or inclination to participate in the activities described. Many of the questions of identity and faith which men face are complex and deep-set. There are no quick fixes.

What Chester offers, however, is a passionate challenge to congregations to take a fresh look at their engagement with men and families in their communities. His two books are an invaluable set of tools that will help any church develop this important aspect of mission. What, in the end, is so appealing is that this is not simply another guide to outreach among men; rather it is a call to bring enrichment to an area in which many fathers struggle - their relationship with their young children.

Canon John Kiddle is Director of Mission in the diocese of St Albans.

Book details

  • ISBN: 9781841018904Z
  • Published: 20 April 2012
  • Status:
  • Format: PDF Download
  • Pages: 112
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