EXPLORING FEELINGS AND EMOTIONS THROUGH PUPPETRY
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In the new COVID world we are all facing a profound challenge to meet the emotional health needs of children. In response to this challenge we have developed an ONLINE DIGITAL ADVENTURE called Curious Beasts that uses the creative and expressive potential of puppets to open up the world of feelings and emotions.
Curious Beasts gives the children a new voice to explain how they are feeling, and then the words to describe those feelings. We do this by bringing a fantastically creative space into school and immersing the children in a playful world where they are encouraged to identify with puppets. We use small groups to build bonds and leave the children more resilient.
How we started
With funding from Well Newcastle Gateshead, we started to look for solutions to the challenge of meeting children’s mental health needs in school. Our teaching colleagues were telling us that identifying children was a challenge as children with low confidence are often unable to vocalise their needs. Our friends at Life and Limb Puppets helped us re-present the Strengths and Difficulties questionnaire through a puppet workshop, and our partners Action for Children helped us design follow-on nurture work for children and families, and ever since we have been delivering our amazing programme in Newcastle!
What guides us
When it comes to issues of confidence and wellbeing, anxiety and behaviour we believe that we can best help the child by helping them form and maintain healthy relationships. Having identified the children who are not able to talk about their feelings we work with them over 6 weeks in small nurturing groups to help them towards confident and resilience. We do the same for their families too.
What we currently do
We work with 18 schools in the inner and outer West of Newcastle and in Gateshead. We run puppet workshops for a whole class and in following weeks nurture sessions for identified children and wellbeing resilience outreach to families with our Action for Children partners.