About the Variety Creative Arts Program
Creativity is a fundamental part of human experience, while engagement with the arts can inspire us to reflect on the meaning and purpose of our lives. In a therapeutic context, creative arts processes can also support people to access, process and integrate challenging emotions and experiences, including traumatic events.
The Variety Creative Arts Program is underpinned by our goal for children to feel safe, heard and understood. We believe that creative arts and play therapies are a powerful way for children to explore, express and make sense of their world as well as to experience joy and wonderment. By offering a developmentally appropriate therapeutic approach, we can provide more effective support for children who may be recovering from adverse life experiences.
The program will be delivered as small-group workshops within a safe and welcoming environment, facilitated by a qualified creative arts therapist. These workshops will offer children a creative means for self-expression that supports their emotional well-being and development.
Case Study: Variety Creative Arts Program at Clarendon Vale Primary School
The Variety Creative Arts Program was held at Clarendon Vale Primary School between the 17th October and 13th December 2019. This program, run by Art Therapist Melanie Paul, focused on 12 children between the ages of 6 and 11 years, with 7 x 1 hour sessions per week per age group. The children who participated in the program experience a range of challenges including low self-esteem, selective mutism, learning difficulties, social isolation, aggression, anxiety and the lived experience of trauma.
A range of age-appropriate creative arts-based processes and activities were explored throughout the program, with an emphasis on social and emotional well-being, nervous system regulation, psycho-education and mindfulness. Activities encompassed visual arts, sensory play, movement, sound and rhythm.
At the conclusion of the program, each child was presented with a certificate of completion, folder of their artworks and resources and a selection of art materials and a Variety memento to congratulate them.
The feedback from the Program has been very inspiring. Teachers were asked to indicate their student’s progress across a range of areas including classroom participation, confidence, social-emotional well-being and learning. For some children, there was an improvement across all areas, for others there was marked improvement in confidence and self-esteem which has been directly linked to improved learning outcomes for those children. They showed more willingness to speak-up, contribute and engage in classroom activities. For one student, who was non-verbal, her teachers commented that she “is starting to speak in a voice we can hear!”. Some students vocalised a decrease in “big worries” and an increase in “doing great’. They also indicated an increase in productive coping strategies when feeling overwhelmed and a desire to continue the program.
“This opportunity has allowed students ‘time out’ from the frantic pace of the classroom. The small group setting has allowed students to let down their gate and create a safe and happy place to be. They have enjoyed the interactive nature of the sessions.” Carolyn Murray – Principal
“Some students seemed relaxed and open during our discussions and one student who rarely speaks was able to really articulate how much he enjoyed the program. I find this has been a valuable experience for me as well, as our school foci are student wellbeing and student voice.” Leeanne Clifford – S. Support Teacher
“I like how some of the kids that probably wouldn’t tell you how they’re feeling on paper just did it straight away. They weren’t embarrassed, they could say ‘this is how I feel when I’m sad’ without being picked on or laughed at. So that worked really well. The boys who I thought might be a bit hesitant about some of the activities just jumped straight in without a worry.” Adam – Teachers’ Aide