Diving into Discover Wellbeing

 

By Artis Specialist Anna Piper (Twang) 

Discover Wellbeing

Photograph by Quick Brown Fox

 

Working alongside more than 120 school children as they dived into the Discover Wellbeing project was a real honour. The project aimed to explore the topic of their mental health and focused upon how this could be further understood through the performing arts. This journey encouraged the children to not only delve deeper into what makes them ‘them’ but also to take pride in the discoveries made.

 

At the start of the project I was so excited to see how eager the children were to talk about their own well-being and what that might mean or look like to them. I began to notice how confident the children were at identifying through facial expressions and body language the more positive emotions within themselves and their peers. I was also struck to see how the emotions that might feel slightly ‘trickier’ become slightly ‘trickier’ to identify and discuss. Throughout this six week project, we were able to give these emotions the time and space they needed. Through movement, music and voice we could see a transformation in how the children began to open up about the full spectrum of emotions and their unique relationship to them.

 

So often children can feel pressured to feel happy and upbeat all of the time but this project allowed them to acknowledge the validity of the times in which this might not be the case. Encouraging them to take ownership and discovering techniques that work for them. Through sculpting our own ‘emotion statues’ the children were able to demonstrate the times; a fearful situation had given them bravery, sadness brought them strength, from anger came kindness and so many more.

 

By using the performing arts, the children discovered new methods to express thoughts and emotions that might feel slightly daunting to tackle in a traditional classroom setting. This creative learning environment gave the children a sense of a fresh start, teachers and staff often commented on the changing dynamics within the room. Children who may not ordinarily partake now felt excited to contribute, create and perform.

Discover Wellbeing

Photograph by Quick Brown Fox

 

This project empowered the children to celebrate the positive attributes they have as an individual and celebrate their differences as well as their similarities. As the sessions progressed and the trust within the classes grew the children began to share the positive attributes of their peers as well as their own. Showing that these sessions highlighted the importance of the individual as well as the collective when exploring our well-being.

 

This project clearly demonstrated that the performing arts gave them a permission to explore, discuss and create without the fear of getting something ‘wrong’ or ‘right’. Allowing them to understand that it is each and every part of them that makes them who they are, and through this project it was each and every part of them we were able to celebrate. The sunny days alongside the rainy ones and as one child so brilliantly put it, ‘If I’m feeling sad it’s not forever if I can figure out a way to make it better’.

 

A short film of the project is available to view here.

 

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20 Apr 2020


Registered Charity Number 1174635