Tree of wishes
When classes start it is important to keep emotional contact with children so everyone in group can feel that "you see me and I see you". Therefore Victoria, an art therapist from Ukraine, usually starts classes from playing hand clapping games with children. So we can feel more close to each other. It is a first step to build trust in group. At first it was carried out art technique aimed make the child more aware of himself and of others.
Taking into account the interests of children and the topics that they are offered at the last lesson, Victoria offered the children to draw their favorite food and talk about it. Since what kind of food we prefer can tell a lot about ourselves.
The children were very excited and painted a lot. It were drawings of pizza, hamburgers, ice cream, fruits etc. Children depicted favorite dishes in rich saturated colors. After children with Victoria brought all pictures together to make a group presentation of favorite dishes. Each child told about own picture and all voices were heard.
Then Victoria offered to share dishes with others. Each child show his picture and all members of group choose in each picture favorite dish and pretend that we eating it together. It is experience about taking and giving, sharing with others. Children liked it, they felt themselves as part of community and were happy to share with each others things that they love.
Second art practice was finger painting collaborative project "The tree of our dreams". It aimed let children express themselves, their dreams and at the same time feel support and force of group unity.
At first we drew with brushes strong tree trunk, roots and ground. It gives children in psychological sense feeling of ground under the feet, stability and confidence.
Then we made leaves of tree with prints of our palms. Each child chose colors that he likes and covered his palms by special finger paints. After he chose a place for himself on the paper and did a prints. Children can use variety of colors and do as many prints as they want. Only one condition that each child have enough space to made own prints at collaborative tree.
Making prints of palm it is a way of self identification and self-expression. By doing this child can say to world "I am, I exist, I am here, it is my print". We can see that all of us are unique as unique are our prints of palms. And at the same time it is metaphore that each of us can find own place in this world as we can find place for our prints at collaborative tree.
Children were very involved in process and interested in this art work. It was fun for them using finger painting and experience of working together. They helped each other and worked as one command.
After it we changed activity and did dynamic excercises that let energy go out.For example, one of them when we imagine that we are trees. And when wind blows strongly (swaying children from side to side), the tree remains standing because it is strong and has a support. Other game: each child in turn is standing in center of circle, imagine that he is a tree. Then whole group help him to hold up his hands (tree branches) that help child feel support of group.
When picture was finished children wrote their dreams or wishes inside their own prints of palms. When children share their thoughts and dreams it is interesting and fascinating moment.
I thank children for their open hearts and collaborative work which enabled us to make a lot of discoveries. Overall, this class has allowed every child to feel its uniqueness and at the same time feel the unity and support of group.