Education + Advocacy = Change

Click a topic below for an index of articles:

 

New-Material

Home

Donate

Alternative-Treatments

Financial or Socio-Economic Issues

Forum

Health Insurance

Hepatitis

HIV/AIDS

Institutional Issues

International Reports

Legal Concerns

Math Models or Methods to Predict Trends

Medical Issues

Our Sponsors

Occupational Concerns

Our Board

Religion and infectious diseases

State Governments

Stigma or Discrimination Issues

If you would like to submit an article to this website, email us at info@heart-intl.net for a review of this paper
info@heart-intl.net

 

any wordsall words
Results per page:

“The only thing necessary for these diseases to the triumph is for good people and governments to do nothing.”

  


I AM A PERSON WHO MATTERS

A Support Group for Children Whose Parents have HIV or AIDS

Karen Landmann, C.S.W.

936 West End Avenue, #F7

New York, NY  10025

U.S.A.

tel. 212.866.2822

e-mail: KLandmann@aol.com

 

Relaxation: Feeling Safe
INTRODUCTION

Group Purpose

The children’s support group is designed to help children cope with the emotional issues involved when a prent has HIV or AIDS.  The aim is to assist children first in coping, second in protecting themselves and others from becoming positive, and third, to bringing their insight to advocacy work to fight for social change. Through their participation in the group, children obtain  a forum in which to articulate their experiences, to reduce isolation through participation, to enhance self-esteem, and to identify options. 

Curriculum Structure

The curriculum is a series of independent units that work together as a whole.  If a child can only attend one session or attends intermittently, there is still much benefit to be gained.  The design is for children aged 7-10; however, many units can be adapted for children of varying ages.  In addition, some units are only suitable for adolescents.  The sessions are 90 minutes in length, but this may also be varied according to need by shortening some segments.  The format is very flexible in order to meet the needs of families with multiple problems, including parental illness.  While the group is based on an American setting, it can be easily replicated for use worldwide.  Suggestions for such cultural adaptation are included in certain units.  In addition, while materials are suggested for each unit, the curriculum can be implemented with very few resources, making it ideal for use in rural areas or developing countries.   The curriculum can also be easily adapted for use with other populations at risk. 

Since children of HIV-positive parents frequently exhibit symptoms of anxiety, many units concentrate on alleviating stress.  The connection of stress to the body is central, as many children both absorb stress quickly and have a capacity for recovering rapidly.  To achieve this aim, alternative healing methods are incorporated, including yoga, shiatsu massage, and meditation techniques.

There are six sections to the curriculum: Sharing, Exploring Feelings, Creative Expression, AIDS education (which can be called Health Education if the label “AIDS” is undesirable), Self-Care, and Advocacy.  The sections can be interchanged with the exception of the Sharing component, which is desired to provide an introduction to group work.  Within each section, groups can also be omitted or the order chnaged as the leader feels is appropriate.  Exploring Feelings aims to help children to identify feelings and learn ways to process those emotions.  Craetive expression uses techniques from various art forms to faciliatate eemotiuonal expression.  AIDS education provides basic facts about AIDS and offers an avenue for children to process issues regarding their parents’ illness and learn how to protect themsleves, as children may feel hopeless about maintaining HIV-negative status when a parent is so ill.  Self-care teaches self-soothing and nurturing skills.  Advocacy brings all of the skills learned in the group to the outside world to help effcet social change.

Group Format

The group format includes: (1) an introductory activity, (2) stretching exercises, (3) the educational component, (4) a relaxation exercise, (5) a closing exercise, and (6) a snack.  The introductory activity affords the children the opportunity to introduce themselves and share a non-threatening personal aspect of their lives.  It helps to ground them in the moment, alleviate anxiety, and help them to bond with other children.

The introductory activity gives the children a chance to enter into group space and time.  It also provides continuity with the previous week as themes are repeated and followed up on.  The introductory activity becomes a forum for reinforcing group themes and ideas.

Stretching exercises are repeated each week.  Writing them on a colorful poster board or other paper and posting them in the room helps the children to remember and follow the exercises.  When the children become accustomed to the exercises they can be asked to demonstrate for other children, thus teaching leadership skills and  helping children to make the group theirs. Taking responsibility can bring increased self-esteem and confidence.

The educational component is the central part of the group.  Themes vary from week to week. While themes build upon each other, each group is an individual unit.  If children are unable to attend due to parent’s illness or other factors they are still able to return to the group without being confused.  In addition, if chidren are only able to attend one or two groups they will still receive benefits.   Children may repeat the entire cycle if they desire.  The material can be explored on several levels simultaneously, so children are not bored.

The relaxation component is critical.  Children who are under stress tend to store it in their bodies. Teaching relaxation on a regular basis assists in combating this phenomenon. It also helps to teach self-care skills.

Snack and nutrition discussion solidify the lessons on self-care and health.  While income may be a large factor in nutrition, children are taught ways to eat more healthily with the resources they possess.  If financially possible, group leaders provide the members with a healthful snack, such as fruit and cheese.

GROUP RULES

The establishment of group rules is essential to establishing an atmosphere of safety and trust in a group.  It is critical that children feel that expression of feeling will be supported and not criticized.

The rules should be posted in a place where all members can see them.  They should be reviewed periodically and when any new member joins the group.  When possible, the rules are stated in positive format rather than stating what cannot be done.  An open format for this works well:  the children are given basic rules but provided with a chance to develop their own rules, putting ownership of the group in the hands of the participants.  This works well for beginning sessions as it is a good group builder.  Rules can be repeated at the beginning of each session: not only does this solidify safety, but it provides an extra element of predicatability which helps children feel secure.  Following is a partial list of Group Rules.

·        no “dissing” (no criticism)

·        everyone gets a turn to speak

·        let everyone finish speaking

·        listen to the group leader

·        listen to each other

·        respect other people’s opinions

·        no name calling

GENERAL MATERIALS

These will depend on what is available.  The group can be run with little or no materials, but should finances be available, the following are useful tools.  Specific materials will be listed at the beginning of each group session.

·        poster board

·        markers

·        nutrition information (for snacks)

·        plants.  These can be used to create a relaxing, nurturing atmosphere.   They also help create a link to nature.

·        pencil and paper

 

THE SESSIONS

 

1) Sharing

2) Expressing Feelings

3) Creative Expression

4) AIDS Education (Health Education)

5) Self-Care

6) Advocacy

 

SHARING

 

Who I Am

My Family

Self-Esteem

WHO I AM

Purpose:

To introduce children to group concept. To promote healthy sense of self and identity.

Materials:

·        Art Supplies: paints, construction paper

·        Multicultural paints .  These are available from teacher’s supply stores and art suppliers. They are paints with the spectrum of human skin tones. 

·        Cultural pride puzzles.  These are available from therapy suppliers. They feature children of varying cultural and racial backgrounds. 

Introductory Activity:

My name, My favorite food, Who is in my family

Children introduce themselves and their favorite food. They describe their family.  Children are invited to share as little or as much information as they wish; if children speak for prolonged periods of time the conversation can be focused and time-limited.  Usually, in the first session the children are reticent to talk.  It may be helpful if one of the group leaders speaks first.

Stretching  (see appendix)

Activity: My Family

Using multicultural paints and construction paper, children cut out and paint pictures of their family. Children show pictures to the rest of the group.  If materials are not available, children can use crayons and pencils to draw pictures. If magazines are available, children can use cutouts from magazines

Discussion topics:

·        who is in my family

·        brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins

·        "nuclear" vs. extended family

·        who I remember (who is gone)

·        culture/ethnicity: note differences, emphasize that there is no "better" or "worse", instill cultural pride

·        various degrees of ability

For older children:

·        discuss racism, sexism, ableism in society.

·        how they feel about their race, culture, level of ability

Children also may complete cultural pride puzzles (and discuss their relevance)

Relaxation:

I am great just the way I am (see appendix for instructions on general guided relaxation techniques).  Include these statements in the relaxation.

“You are a wonderful person. You know that just by being yourself.  You are a wonderful person. With every breath you take in you say to yourself:  “I am great just the way I am.  I really like myself. I like all things about myself, the things I do well, the things that are hard for me, all things.  I like myself just the way I am.  When you open your eyes, you will keep saying those things to yourself.”

Snack/Nutrition Discussion

Closing: What I am most proud about

MY FAMILY

Purpose: To identify family makeup. To have children find similarities and differences in their families. To open the door for discussion of more serious issues.

Materials: family puppets, doll house and dolls. Culturally relevant toys and dolls may be substituted here. Local materials can be highly effective and also inexpensive.

Introduction: The person I am closest to in the world

Children discuss who they feel is very close to them. 

Stretching

Activity: Children are invited to play with the puppets and doll house or dolls.

Discussion:

·        what did you play?

·        How did you feel?

·        Did you notice anything anybody else was doing?

·        Does anybody's family remind you of yours?

·        What makes a family?

Relaxation: I am a special person

“When you keep breathing you feel very relaxed. You remember how you say to yourself ‘I am great just the way I am’.  You keep saying that to yourself, yes, keep saying that to yourself.  And you know that you are a very special person.  Yes, you are a very special person.  Keep saying to yourself ‘I am a special person’.  When you open your eyes, you will keep saying to yourself ‘I am a special person.  There is nobody like me.  I am a very special person’.”

Snack and Nutrition Discussion

Closing: What I like and don't like about my family

SELF‑ESTEEM

Purpose: To enhance children's sense of self and boost self‑esteem

Materials: Books

In many children’s and educational book stores, books are available which focus on children’s self-esteem.  As  an alternative, culturally appropriate materials on self-esteem (e.g., mementos the family is proud of, tokens and indicators of cultural pride such as artwork, depictions of cultural events, shared societal traditions).

High Self‑Esteem Game (available from children’s therapy suppliers)

Introduction: My Favorite Thing About Myself

Children tell the group their favorite thing about themselves.  This is a chance for children to self-affirm.   Children who have experienced trauma or whose parents are ill often have reduced self-esteem.  If the child is awkward or unable to give themselves compliments. If children have difficulty with this exercise, encourage the other participants to say something nice about the child.

Activity: Building self-esteem

Read Self‑Esteem books

Play self‑esteem game

If these are not available, a discussion can be facilitated

·        who is proud of themselves

·        what do we do to be proud of ourselves

·        do we need to do something to feel good or can we feel good just by being ourselves?

Relaxation: “I am a good person”

Keep breathing and remember what a special person you are.  With every breath you keep remembering what a special person you are.  Breathe in, and out, and remember that you are a special person and a good person.  Keep saying to yourself ‘I am a good person.’  When you open your eyes you will keep saying to yourself ‘I am a good person’.

Snack/Nutrition Discussion

Closing: Five more things I like about me

EXPLORING FEELINGS

Sharing Feelings 1

Sharing Feelings 2

Sharing Feelings 3

Sharing Feelings 4

Sharing Feelings 5

Feelings in My Body

Thoughts and Feelings

Feeling Centered

Anger

Shame

Sadness/Depression

Happiness/Joy

 

SHARING FEELINGS—PART 1

Purpose: To help children identify feelings. To realize that feelings are OK.

Materials: Feelings Worksheet (appendix)

Feelings Poster.  These are available from many therapy suppliers.  They show various feeling states illustrated by photos of children.  If these are not available, facilitators can draw pictures to represent emotions.

Introduction: How I Feel Today.  Using the feelings poster, children point and identify how they are feeling at the moment.

Stretching

Activity: Feelings worksheet (see appendix).  Children are given the paper with the list of feelings. They are given time to circle the feelings.

The feelings are gone through one by one, discussing:

·        Who feels happy?

·        What's it like to feel happy?

·        How do you know when you feel happy?

·        How can you tell when other people are happy?

The process is repeated for the other feelings.  Any feelings that arise are normalized, using the phrase: “Feelings are neither good nor bad.  It’s what we do with them that counts.”

Relaxation: Restful meditation: feelings

As you breathe in and out, you feel very rested.  You feel relaxed, and refreshed.  You rest, rest, rest.  All the feelings you discussed today are inside you, but you can rest, and feel very relaxed.  You feel good because you talked about your feelings.  You know that every time you discuss your feelings you will feel better. You feel very good and very relaxed because you discussed your feelings.  

Snack/Nutrition Discussion

Closing: What I Feel Right Now

 

SHARING FEELINGS‑Part 2

Coloring Feelings

Purpose: To show children that many different feelings may be expressed at once and that these feelings are OK.

Materials: Paper, Colored pencils, crayons, or markers

Introduction: My strongest feeling this week

Stretching

Activity: Coloring Feelings

Children are given coloring materials and instructed to color in all the feelings they have (or have ever had, depending on age and confidence with dealing with emotions).  This a free exercise; tell the children tp draw their feelings as they see them, using color, size and shape as they see fit.

Pictures are shared with the group and discussed.

**emphasize‑there are no right or wrong feelings. Each person's feelings are valid. Feelings are not good or bad. It's what you do with them that counts.

Relaxation: Color Meditation

Breathe in and out. Remember how comfortable you are with your feelings. Keep breathing in and out, and feel comfortable with your feelings. Notice how each of your feelings has a different size, and shape, and color. Go over to each of your feelings and make friends with your feeling.  Even if it is a scary feeling, you can be friends, because now you can talk about your feelings.  Breathe in and out.  Notice the color of your feelings,  Shake hands with your feelings.  Now you feel good, good, good. When you open your eyes you will feel rested and good.

Snack/Nutrition Discussion

Closing: What I feel right now

 

SHARING FEELINGS‑Part 3

Purpose: To further assist children in identifying, sharing, and coping with feelings.  To identify how feelings are stored in the body and to provide tools for coping with them through alternative healing methods.

Materials: Feelings Poster

Feelings in my body quiz (see appendix).

Introduction:  The feeling that’s hardest for me

Activity:  Feelings in my body quiz  (see appendix)

Children are given the questionnaire to fill out on their own.  When they are finished, the questionnaire is brought back into the group as a whole. The children are invited to share their answers to the questions and also add thoughts and feelings of their own.  This questionnaire can be shortened for work with younger children.

Relaxation: Feelings in My Body

As you take your deep breaths in and out, notice how the feelings are in your body.  Notice which part of your body is tight, or loose, or where there are hurts in your body.  As you notice where the hurts are, take a breath in, right to where that hurt is.  Breathe in warm, red healing light to the hurt, and breathe out blue, cool light with all the hurts in it.  Keep breathing this way until you feel very good and very realized (pause).  Keep breathing this way until you feel very good and very relaxed (long pause).  When you are ready, open your eyes and slowly sit up.

Snack/Nutrition Discussion

Closing:  What I learned today about feelings in my body

SHARING FEELINGS‑Part 4

Purpose: To further assist children in identifying feelings, sharing and resolving feelings.

Materials: Feelings Poster, Feelings cards

These materials are available at therapy suppliers.  They delineate various aspects of processing feelings.  They can be used as s springboard for discussion.  The feelings cards can be played like regular cards.

 Introduction: What I think about having feelings

Activity:  Feelings Cards, feelings poster

Various games can be played with the feelings cards—for example: concentration  As the children use the cards, conversation can be facilitated using the pictures of the children on the cards.

As an alternative, regular cards or other culturally appropriate toys may be used.  As the children engage in play, the group leader can facilitate discussion:

·        How are you learning to deal with your feelings since starting this group?

·        What has gotten easier?  What is still difficult?

·        If you could change one thing about your feelings, what would it be?

·        How can feelings help you?

·        How can feelings make life harder?

·        Do you notice how other people deal with their feelings?  What’s good about it?  What’s not good?

Relaxation: Taped relaxation script: Total Body Relaxation

Commercial tapes with soothing music and relaxation scripts are widely available at health ffod stores.  As an alternative,  there is a script for total body relaxation in the appendix.

Snack/Nutrition Discussion

Closing: What I learned about feelings today

SHARING FEELINGS‑Part 5

Purpose: To explore feelings more deeply

Materials: Doing, Talking, Feeling game

This game is available from therapy suppliers.

Introduction: What I learned about my feelings this week

Stretching

Activity: Talking, Doing, Feeling Game

This game is played and the feelings discussed.

Relaxation: Healing

As you breathe in deeper and deeper, you notice yourself getting more and more relaxed.  You notice yourself sinking deeper and deeper.  You feel all parts of you that don’t feel well healing and feeling better. Your body hurts are healing and feeling better.  And your hurt feelings are healing and feeling better. Every time you breathe in you feel your body and your feelings healing. Heal, heal, heal.  You keep breathing and you keep feeling your body healing (pause).  You will soon feel very good (pause).  When you feel very good, you slowly open your eyes and sit up.

Snack/Nutrition Discussion

Closing: What I will do in the next week to heal my hurt feelings

FEELINGS IN MY BODY

This session was adapted from Irene Clouse Newlon’s “SKIT: Support for Kids in Transition”

Purpose: To identify where feelings are stored in the body and to provide to tools to promote relaxation and stress relief.

Materials: Boy and Girl Drawings (no clothes, no anatomical detail)

Introduction: Where I hurt today

Stretching: Pressure Points.  As a variation on the stretching children the usually do, pressure points for shiatsu are taught (see appendix).  The children can then do shiatsu massage on themselves in the future. Because of the large incidence of trauma and abuse in this population, shiatsu massage on others is not permitted, nor does the group leader demonstrate on the children.  While neither may be abusive, touch can both trigger memories of past abuse and be misinterpreted, especially by children. Preserving boundaries is a key feature of the group.

Activity: Boy & Girl Pictures

The children are given a picture of a boy and a girl with no anatomical detail.  The children are encouraged to color in the parts of their body when they hurt.  Children then share their pictures with the group.  They discuss what causes them to feel pain.  Connections can be made between emotions and pain.  For example, how do you feel in your body when you are angry, scared, sad, lonely?  Connect this to the previous ession which explored feelings in the body.

Relaxation: Provide stretches/relaxation for hurt body parts

The children are given directions about how to cope with various body aches.  Breathing exercises can be given for tense body parts, such as shoulders or stomach.

Snack/Nutrition Discussion

Closing: What I will do in the next week to take care of myself

THOUGHTS AND FEELINGS

Purpose: To expose children's negative thought patterns (cognitive distortions). To explain how these thought patterns affect one's emotional state and to set the stage for new, more adaptive thought patterns. To illustrate how these thought patterns arise in everyday life.

Materials: Positive Thinking Cards

These are available through therapy suppliers.  They explore cognitive distortions with children and teach them to work with these distortions.

Introduction:

One good thing I say about myself.   How does it make me feel?

One bad thing I say about myself How does it make me feel?

Activity: Positive Thinking

Brainstorm

What is criticism? Criticism of others, criticism of ourselves.  In what ways do we criticize ourselves? What are specific ways we criticized ourselves this week?  Ask members to provide feedback on whether they think these criticisms are valid.

Attitude Adjustment

Prepare cards beforehand (copies) for children to take home.  Review how children could use them in the coming week.

Relaxation: Feeling Good About Me

As you start to relax, you notice that you feel really good about yourself. You breathe in and out, and feel very good about all of the things you mentioned today.  You realize that you are a smart, fun, happy person and that you can do anything you want to.  You feel very good about yourself.

 


Snack/Nutrition Discussion

Closing: What I learned about how I think. My positive thought for the week

FEELING CENTERED

Purpose: To help children understand when they are being taken over by their emotions. To provide strategies to deal with overwhelming emotions.

Materials:  None

Introduction:  A Time When My Feelings Overwhelmed Me

Stretching

Activity: Feeling Centered

Brainstorm

·        What is it like to feel off-balance?

·        What sorts of things make a person overwhelmed?

·        What happens when your emotion are all over the place?

·        How can you feel better when that happens?

·        What does it mean to regulate emotions?

·        What is meditation?

Teaching

Teach children the idea behind meditation: that it provides stability.  When practiced, it can help you not to get overwhelmed by feelings and things that happen, so that you are steady and tall like a tree, not always being blown over. The relaxation they have been learning is a form of meditation.  The stretching is also a way to get more in touch with the body. They can do these sorts of exercises any time they feel overwhelmed.  They do not need to let their emotions take over.  Being centered also involves being aware of everything in the moment, slowing down and taking breaths to be aware.  When you are aware of your surroundings, you are better able to deal with emotions.

Discuss these ideas with the children.  Talk to them about how they will incorporate this learning in their lives.  Ask for feedback about whether they have been able to do any breathing or stretching at home.

Relaxation: Total Body Relaxation (repeat)

Snack/Nutrition Discussion

Closing: What I will do in the next week to stay centered

ANGER

Purpose: To identify anger as a positive and healthy emotion when expressed appropriately. To teach children methods of coping with anger so that anger does not create behavior and relationship problems.

Materials: Anger Control Poster

Anger Solution Game

Introduction: What makes me Mad.   Where it is in my body

Stretching: Time‑out anger exercises‑‑count to ten, deep breath, visualization

Teach children to visualize their anger as something that can get smaller and blow away, or as a balloon that bursts, or how to do deep breathing while angry to get control of the anger.

Activity

Anger Control Poster‑have children read poster, draw in Anger control game

differentiate: controlling anger DOES NOT MEAN stuffing it down, pretending you're not angry, always pleasing others, not being in touch with your own emotions. It means recognizing it and letting go.

‑‑act opposite what do you do when you're angry with someone you love

anger is OK

it's safe to feel anger

balance of feeling anger

you are not your anger

If time allows, play the Anger Solution Game.

Relaxation:  Anger Release Meditation

Imagine yourself completely in control of your anger.  Take a deep breath in and feel your anger going away, like dust in the wind.  You can feel your anger shrinking so that you can mange it.  You know that you will feel your anger just the right amount, so you can tell someone you are angry and talk about it, but not get too nagry.  You realize that you are in complete control of your anger.

Snack/Nutrition Discussion

Closing: What I will do to Control My Anger in the next week

SHAME

Purpose: To teach children the difference between healthy shame and "toxic shame" (justified unjustified)

Materials:  Puppets (if available), paper and  implements for drawing

Introduction: The Last Time I Felt Shame

Where it was in my body

Stretching

Activity

Brainstorm

·        "good" shame and "bad" shame

·        What kinds of things make us feel ashamed?? (could bring in cultural/ethnic, ability, illness, stigma, feel shame about core self)

Art

Have children draw their shame (like an animal). Create dialogues with the "bad" shame/playacting with puppets.  Give their shame a "face lift".   Make friends with their shame.  Show how shame can be helpful, when it is too much.  Discuss also when shame is justified, as when you did something you know is wrong.  Also review when shame is unjustified, as when someone criticizes you unfairly.  In this case, you need to “act opposite”, by doing the opposite action than you feel.  For example, if you feel like saying nothing, you should say something to the person.  This needs to be repeated over and over again.  Discuss with the group examples of when shame is unjustified and how to “act opposite”.

Relaxation: I feel shame and I'm OK

As you breathe in, you start to get relaxed.  As you feel relaxed, you notice that you have al sorts of feelings.  Find your shame feeling.  Go up to your shame feeling, and talk to it. Shake its hand, and make friends with it.  Picture yourself being friends with your shame.  You feel very good that you are friends with your shame. You feel really good now because you realize that it’s OK to feel shame.

Snack/Nutrition Discussion

Closing: What I learned about shame today

SADNESS/DEPRESSION

Purpose: To teach children that sadness is OK. To differentiate between sadness and depression. To provide tools to help children cope with sadness. To alert children that if they feel very depressed, they should seek the help of an adult 

Materials: None

Introduction: What makes me sad.  Where I feel it in my body.

 Stretching

Activity: Brainstorm

·        What kinds of things make you sad?

·        Have you ever felt so sad that you could hardly get out of bed?

·        Have you ever felt so sad you didn't want to eat?

·        Have you ever been so sad you couldn't sit still at school?

·        Have you ever felt so sad you wanted to die or kill yourself?

·        Have you ever felt so sad you wanted to hurt someone else?

Make sure the children know that if they feel that sad they should tell a grown‑up.

But ... if you are feeling just really sad about something

·        cry for awhile

·        do something nice for yourself

·        talk to someone

An additional art activity can be to have children draw their sadness.   The pictures can then be shared with the group and discussed.

Relaxation: I Feel Sad and I’m OK

As you breathe in very deeply, you feel more and more relaxed.  You start to notice that you have emotions.  Notice your emotions.  You remember how you made friends with your shame.  See your shame.  Your shame is now your friend.  Now look for your sadness.  Go up to your sadness.  Shale its hand, and make friends with it.  Imagine being good friends with your sadness.  As you get better and better friends with your sadness, you feel more and more relaxed. You know that you can have sadness and feel really good about yourself.

Snack/Nutrition Discussion

Closing: How I'm going to help myself the next time I'm sad

HAPPINESS/JOY

Purpose:  To teach children how to modulate happiness/joy if they are experiencing overwhelming sadness or depression (so they don't "crash").  To teach children how to appreciate brief moments of happiness if they are having a hard time.

Materials: Feelings cards (see appendix)

Introduction: When I Feel Happy

Activity: Happiness Discussion

Brainstorm

·        What makes people happy?

·        Can you hold on to happiness?

·        Can you make happiness come if it’s not there?

·        Can you ever feel “too happy”?

·        Would it be good to always feel happy?

Bring out themes such as the contrast between depressed and happy feelings, that it’s hard to go back to feeling sad after you’ve just felt happy.  Teach children to “hold on” to a little bit of happiness by putting it in an imaginary bubble to remember.

Art

Draw a happiness bubble and put some happy things in it to remember when you’re feeling sad.  Share with the group and discuss.  Bring out themes such as modulating emotions and living in the moment.

Relaxation: My Feeling is Like a Wave

As you breathe in and out, you notice feelings coming and going.  There are all sorts of feelings. You don’t need to hold onto any one feeling. The feelings come and go, and you don’t hold onto them.  You just notice them, coming and going.  It is very nice to see the feelings coming and going.  They come and go, like  a wave.  It is very relaxing to see the feelings come and go, like a wave.

Snack/ Nutrition Discussion

Closing: How I will make friends with my feelings this week

 

 


CREATIVE EXPRESSION

 

Art (Express My Feelings)

Music (Express My Feelings)

Theater

Dance/Movement

Photography
ART--SHOW MY FEELINGS

Adaptable for different ages due to different materials

Purpose: To introduce children to concepts of art and help them express feelings through art

Materials: colored pencils, crayons, ebony pencils, graphite crayons, beginner's pencil, charcoal, pastels, markers, erasers, artist's paper, art books, reproductions (from the Met, Basquiat, etc.).  Reproductions or art from other cultures such as sculptures or drawings or beadwork could be substituted here.

Introduction: What I see that I like.

Activity: Being an Artist

Brainstorm:

·        What is art?

·        Who can do art?

Encourage the children to acknowledge that everyone can do art, that one does not have to be especially gifted  to enjoy doing art and benefit from it.

·        Where do we see art?

Doing art

Children are introduced to various kinds of art materials and instructed on how to use them. Discuss ways to express feelings through art. Let children free draw/color.

Children share their pictures with the group and discuss what they were feeling. Discuss ways that they could use art to help them discuss their feelings and to help them calm, settle, and nurture themselves.

Relaxation: My Creativity

As you start to get relaxed, you feel very good.  You know that you are a very smart, wonderful, creative person.  You love to create things, and you have many ideas for creating wonderful things. You know that you will be able to use this creativity to help you with emotional problems.  As you breathe and relax, you know that this creativity is your friend.  You feel very happy because you are very creative.

Snack/Nutrition Discussion

Closing: How I will use art in the next week

MUSIC—SHOW MY FEELINGS

Purpose: To show children the link between music and feelings. To teach children to express feelings through music. To provide tools and ideas for self‑nurturing through music.

Materials: Soprano recorder, sand blocks, maracas, snare drum, triangle, tambourine, melody bells, cluster bells, guiro tone block , drumsticks and drum pad.  Instruments indigenous to the culture can also be used.

Introduction: My Favorite Song

Children are invited to share their favorite music and to sing if they feel inclined.  Discuss how singing can help reduce stress and provide joy and increased self-esteem.

Stretching

Activity: Making music

Brainstorm:  Instruments people play

Demo:

Children explore sounds of instruments. Guide children in making rhythm and notes to reflect feelings‑anxiety, depression, sadness, etc. Have children creatively use instruments to express emotions, describe, etc.

·        how I feel after I play music

·        how music makes me feel

·        how music can help me

·        my favorite music and why

·        what music shows what feelings (give examples)

Relaxation: The Greatest Love by Whitney Houston

If this song is available on tape, play it for the children.  During the snack discussion they can discuss how the song makes them feel, and what the song is about.  Then themes of self-esteem and valuing children can be explored.

Snack/Nutrition Discussion

Closing: How I will use music in the next week

THEATER

Purpose: