Dear teaching colleagues,
We are inviting you to take part in our project 'Drawing Together'.
What is it?
Drawing Together is an initiative to help children and young people in the Bradford area to process the experience of pandemic and lockdown alongside their peers in the safe environment school provides.
Art psychotherapy principles are used to provide a flexible but containing framework for school staff to use. It aims to normalise and make sense of the powerful, sometimes conflicting and wide ranging feelings we have had all had in response to a shared experience while
acknowledging the individual circumstances we have been in.
What do we want you to do?
Every day, for the first month back in school (20 school days) we will ask you to set aside 15 minutes.
This should take place at the same time every day either at the start of the day, after lunch or at the end of the day before home time. The consistent regular time is an integral part of the project. It helps the children feel safe and emotionally contained
so that they can think about difficult and confusing feelings.
There will be a script for each teacher to read to their class to introduce the activity. This script may alter slightly over the weeks as the children become familiar with the format but will stay largely the same to keep it consistent.
There will be a different theme every day and the children will be given 10 minutes to draw / make in response. The teacher will also draw.
The teacher or children will then put all the images up together on a noticeboard or wall. The children will want a few moments to stand back and look at all their images together. These images will be taken down (preferably when the children aren't there)
in time for the next set of images to go up. They should be kept safe in a folder til the end of the project.
Ground rules: This is not an art lesson. The drawings do not have to be 'good' or 'neat' or make sense. No criticism. No judgement. Just acceptance and kindness. - Whatever a child draws in valid - a scribble, a smudge, a blank piece of paper.
All go up on the wall.
What you will need:
- the script
- paper - enough for every child taking part to draw an image every day for 20 days
- pencils/pens/ crayons - plasticine if you're feeling adventurous and have somewhere to put the objects made
- a wall/ notice board and bluetack/ pins
- a folder for each group for the images to go into. You are showing the children their feelings are valued and kept safe.
- Teachers to note down every time any children having wobbles/ presenting them with concerns. If there are consistent concerns this should be shared with your school's SLT and responded to in the usual way: look out for - tearful, withdrawn, changes in behaviour,
What will we do?
- Provide a list of children's books that consider themes of uncertainty/ change/ anxiety that teachers and parents can use to extend and develop the work
- a list of therapeutically informed resources we feel are useful for parents and staff to draw on
- a tipsheet for the project
We would love to hear how you get on and will do our best to answer any queries. The project was designed with primary aged children in mind but could easily be adapted for use in secondary schools. It is perhaps particularly pertinent for Year 7s managing
the transition or year 8s who have fast-forwarded through Year 7.