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Play and Creative Art Therapy for Primary Schools

by Anna Hodgson in Little Wittenham, England, United Kingdom

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Clear Sky deliver one-to-one and group Play and Creative Arts Therapy to Primary school children who have experienced trauma or disadvantage

by Anna Hodgson in Little Wittenham, England, United Kingdom

Clear Sky provides specialist Play and Creative Arts Therapy services to children, families and professionals, including schools, to support children who have experienced trauma or early life challenges.

Clear Sky deliver one to one and group therapy sessions to Primary school children (KS1 and 2) We use trained and qualified therapists from a variety of specialisms including Play, Drama, Art and Dance Therapy. The children we work with have experienced bereavement, abuse, bullying, family breakdown, neglect, domestic violence, parents with substance abuse issues, or may be struggling with learning difficulties. The list is not exhaustive.

Children need creative forms of expression to explore different feelings, as they do not possess the language to speak about experiences that have been traumatic or challenging. Play and Creative Arts Therapy offers a meaningful outlet that is age appropriate, child led, gentle and safe for children to explore past or present traumas.

Our work addresses the needs of children in the community who are at risk of developing, or who are already suffering from mental health difficulties in Primary Schools. The emotional blocks to learning have an impact upon education through high level emotional, behavioural and concentration difficulties, putting them at risk of school exclusion and disengagement from society.
Key statistics demonstrate the scale of the problems that children and young people are facing:

1) 1 in 4 mental illnesses start in childhood
2) 10% of school aged children have a diagnosable mental illness, the equivalent to 3 in every UK classroom
3) 75% of young people are not receiving treatment
4) The average wait for effective treatment is 10 years, with many opportunities being missed until the situation reaches crisis point (MQ Mental Health Research 2017)

Our support is the difference for many children between permanent exclusion and continuing mainstream education. A Clear Sky therapist becomes the child's advocate, giving the child a voice to all professionals and adults in their lives, educating the systems around the child, ensuring positive outcomes for children at home and at school to allow them to access education.

We use a holistic approach working with parents, teachers and other professionals and we work in collaboration with other providers to continually ensure that we achieve the best outcomes for all who are involved in the care of the child. Our work is highly valued by schools who approach us directly for referrals but we currently have more enquiries that we can support due to constraints in funding for our work.

We provide support in 3 key ways:

1) Group and individual therapy for children
2) Coaching parents to use child led play to promote emotional wellbeing
3) Training professional practitioners in our approach
4) Working with schools to identify and support children's needs

Therapy provides a ripple effect of benefit, by alleviating the needs of those children who are a distraction to others because of their emotional and mental health needs.

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