Exploring through Art at Wooranna Park Primary School

  Monday 14th December, 2020
  Categories: Connect Stories

Exploring through Art at Wooranna Park Primary School

Some of the art made by Wooranna Park PS students

For young people across Victoria, this year has been full of ups and downs, distractions and challenges. As children returned to school from remote learning, those of us working in schools found they needed spaces to process their feelings, to learn to articulate what they were experiencing, rather than lash out with words, or hands and feet. For our students, art has been a great way to do that.

Together with Catherine, a minister at Dandenong Church of Christ and a passionate artist, we’ve been taking the students at Wooranna Park Primary School through a six-week program using art to explore feelings and emotions. As kids returned from remote learning, it helps them understand and express what’s going on in their minds and hearts.

There are many different needs across the three mixed-age groups of students we facilitate. Low self-esteem is a common concern, as is loneliness—a sense that they don't feel like they fit in, that they don’t belong anywhere. Our art therapy has allowed them to articulate what they are feeling, name it, locate the feeling in their body, and to explore these feelings. They choose how to colour their feelings diagrams, they name their own emotions. This is important, as it allows them to explore their feelings in their own way.

Understanding who you are, and your feelings helps you form your identity. You get to know who you are, and how you respond to the world. Through this project we are trying to help the students understand themselves better. If we can empower young people in some way—help them understand and navigate their emotions, give them a bit more hope and a bit more understanding of their identity and that they are loved by people around them, and by God—then that's going to help them move forward in a positive way.

Catherine and I are co-facilitators with God. When we trust that God is present, and working, we can just relax and focus on the students in front of us. Through us, they experience how God values and loves them. That’s what we want them to go away with at the end of this six weeks.

Samantha, SU Chaplain at Wooranna Park Primary School

This story is part of the December 2020 issue of CONNECT. Read the latest update from our State Director here. For other stories from this issue, click on a tile below.