Project- Art Therapy at the Children's Learning Centre: Addressing the impact of trauma on educational attainment
September 2018-June 2019

When a family is displaced or forced to flee their country, it has a particularly devastating impact on the children. The youngest are left confused and frightened by their experiences and the oldest are forced to grow up much too fast. As such, it is increasingly important to provide psychosocial support to children who may have internalised these difficulties and who may be suffering as a result.

Al Madad Foundation's tailored Art Therapy programme worked to address the emotional scars inflicted by what children have seen and experienced, allowing them to express what they would not, or simply did not have the words, to say.

This scheme also included Teacher Training in assessment and referral, classroom management and positive discipline skills, Self-Development and Self-Care workshops for teachers and parents, as well as Parenting Sessions tackling sensitive topics such as bullying, developmental needs, building strong parent-child bond, sexual abuse, war trauma and gender-based violence.

About Art Therapy: 

Art therapy generally has similar goals and values as traditional psychotherapy, aiming to develop self-awareness and healthy strategies to deal with personal challenges. It integrates traditional psychotherapeutic theories and techniques with a unique understanding of the creative process and its ability to aid in the healing process. Art Therapy relies on self-expression to awaken an individual’s own problem solving capacities. Guided by a professional art therapist, the creative process can be insightful and therapeutic.

Art therapy is not an art class, although the sessions can be enjoyable and educational. The focus is not on the esthetics of the end product, but rather on the whole process of creation. As well as art, therapy sessions at the CLC also included 'play', as depicted above. 

Key results:

Part 1
Focus on teacher training and follow-up: Focus Group and follow-up; Psychological Assessment & Referral and follow-up conducted by Artichoke Studio; Teacher training - Creative Tools in PSS – three sessions, one follow-up, three observation/feedback days and one additional half-day training. 

Part 2
Art and Movement Therapy for referred ECE pupils 3-6 years old, 4 groups of 12 sessions each with 4-7 children per group between 30th January and 17th April. All suitable and eligible referred pupils were seen. A Parents’ Focus Group as held on 19th April.