Over the Easter Holidays, I began preparing for the Seedlings group which involved gathering various resources for the arts and crafts activities, creating resources for some of the games, meeting with Kate to discuss possible children that may like to attend and planning the schedule. Kate and I ran the Seedlings programme for the SAFE Charity over the 17th and 18th of March which is a nice fun way to give support to children who have had some type of abuse in their lives by having a 2-day club which involves fun games and arts and crafts while also getting the children to talk about feelings and emotions and giving them a safe place.
Around 6 children were expected but only 3 girls turned up. This is usually because these families have very hectic schedules with a lot going on so cannot always commit to things so we were not concerned by only have 3 children on the course. The were all very similar in personality; shy, quiet and very polite so they group had a very good atmosphere once they all started to warm up to each other. The first day consisted of mostly that just getting them to get to know each other a bit more feel more relaxed by just playing with the dollhouse, having an easter egg hunt and playing other games. After lunch, Kate began discussing feelings more and more with them and you could see they were starting to feel more comfortable around us. We have various emojis of different emotions for them to discuss and got them to draw on an outline of a body where they feel certain emotions and what are the bad and good feelings. These kind of exercises were still fun and playful so that the kids were enjoying themselves but also gave them an opportunity to open up a bit more. It was nice to witness the change in these 3 girls from being very shy and reserved to being playful and relaxed. By the end of the first day, 2 of the girls wanted to discuss something personally with Kate. This just showed to me how beneficial this programmes actually is. Although on the outside it may just look like a holiday club for kids, the tools the the charity and Kate uses allows the children to feel safe and comfortable enough to talk about their worries and feelings which is a big part of what SAFE tries to do as a charity. This can be so important for some of these children as they often do not get that in their home life due to their personal situation.
After such a lovely first day working with Kate on Seedlings with the 3 girls I was really excited to come back for the second day of the programme. Kate likes to do a feelings check-in at the beginning of every session to see how everyone is feeling. The first day they all picked feelings such as shy, nervous and anxious but on the second day they all picked feelings such as excited, happy and special. This made me feel happy and excited as I could see how much they were enjoying being here and that they were really feeling safe and relaxed. They were definitely a lot more open the second day when discussing feelings they sometimes would share their own personal stories which none felt comfortable to do yesterday. The 3 girls were definitely getting closer from this; I could see them sharing, working together and looking out for each other which was really nice to see. This programme gave me an opportunity to see what it is like observing children’s behaviour and the many things you can learn from it. The last task Kate got to do with them was to make a support tree. This was just a little arts and crafts activity of making a tree from a drawing of your hand and putting leaves on the end of the fingers of people they can talk to for support to make sure they leave the day knowing who they can talk to. They are also given the Childline number to write on their tree and the emergency 999 number and explained when they should use them. When the parents came to collect their kids you could see how happy it made them that they knew their children had support and that their child knew that too. Overall, the whole experience was a massive eye opener to me about how many children actually go through this sort of thing and how easy sometimes it can be to help just by creating a safe space for them where they feel comfortable to talk. This has really made me think twice about not wanting to work with little children as I have learned that there are so many tools to help support children that need to be shared.
(PREPARATION = 2hrs, SEEDLINGS = 10hrs) = 12hrs