All children need support from their parents while at school, or in cases where home schooling is the chosen option. Some children are gifted, and need additional help in learning their own way before gaining confidence at school. All need encouragement to keep their curiosity alive, as learning is a strong drive in us all. This drive may be inhibited for various reasons at school, and when parents share their own interests, curiosity and knowledge it can be revived at home in a natural way.
Parents are special people who can support their child express their own thoughts and feelings with creative listening and special play times in which emotional experiences are given non judgemental attention. The Play Team train adults in Reflective Listening and Non Directive Play, where skills of love and care support a child through difficult times.
Working with expressive arts gives older children a chance to use different parts of their imagination to explore ideas and new learning. Non Directive Expressive Arts and Play skills are offered by CLIA on a coaching basis for individual parents and in small group workshops organised by parents.
The following are examples of how Non Directive and Non Judgemental listening can work:
Working with Specially Gifted children and those with needs for learning support:
CLIA is rooted in experiences of home education with a gifted learner with Asperger’s Syndrome giving him a strength of focus and attention that is highly unusual. As a child he spent 18 hours a day drawing animals with great expressive character. Over several years from 1998 – 2004 a multi-media expressive arts approach with non directive reflective listening, supported his talents through early years in school, and two years of home schooling. During this time his passion for drawing, cartoons and home video developed into a skillful DVD production project generating many video narratives exploring emotional dilemmas. He went on to obtain his BA (Hons) in Animation from UWE in Bristol. Now, in 2023, he is an award-winning professional animator specialising in producing visual support material for children with different learning needs.
[Photo courtesy KarangaCartoons]
This early computer (11 hrs) cartoon ‘Gruesome Christmas’ brought a sense of achievement as well as expressive emotional release from narratives of his own life. He is now a student at Bristol University studying multi media arts. For more information on his Home Education report, CLICK ASReport
Helping your child develop his or her special interests is a special parenting talent that takes practice and support. Training in using Creative Journal for Children (by Lucia Capacchione PhD) is available through CLIA, Here is a useful list of topics for you to explore:
Children’s journall pictures can be made before play or after a short story with a feeling theme:
‘When I am Angry’
No critical comments are made of journal images and they are kept anonymous or confidential so that the child can trust that their feelings are accepted.
Parenting Skills training including Non Directive Play is available from the Play Team (www.ukplayteam.org), and through CLIA.Creative Arts Manual is available from CLIA at £5, giving practical tips for activities and listening.
Here is an illustration of using sandplay:
In the sand, a child acts out emotional experiences in a special imaginary world with miniature toys , and this helps him adjust to the challenges upsets of life.
CLICK – Article about multi media arts with Asperger’s Syndrome:
CLICK – Home Video ‘Norman and Harry’
Play for Adults
Learning how to reflect a child’s play involves doing sandplay yourself, discovering the fun of making up stories using miniature objects such as people, houses, trees, and animals, or natural objects such as stones, leaves or fir cones.
CLIA’s workshops in integrative arts with journal, collage, clay, masks, movement and mandala encourage adult play, the basis of all creativity and self healing.
A tray with symbolic objects telling a story of a personal journey. The dance of the central figures represented the Creative Self, while the egg represented the rebirth of an insight.
Learning to play and have fun is what children teach their parents. CLIA’s integrated arts activities bring an experience of weaving thoughts, feelings and images which is similar to what a child experiences in play. For a child, play is a serious thing, done with commitment and passion, and learning always comes out of this quality of play.
‘True play, such as children engage in, takes them into the world in a way that honours imagination and the power of the moment to reveal new and unexpected things; it is an encounter that opens the door for emergence. It connects them with what is and with what might be or could be. True play is a doorway into the future and into possibility and newness.’ David Spangler, ‘A Pilgrim in Aquarius’.