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Creative Safe Spaces Community Arts for Children Series

Animator Workbook

By: Dr. J. Nathan Corbitt Co-Founder, President & CEO, BuildaBridge International Dr. Vivian Nix-Early Co-Founder & COO, BuildaBridge International Tracie Blummer Technical Writer, BuildaBridge International

BuildaBridge is a nonprofit arts education and intervention organization whose mission is to engage creative people and the transformative power of art-making to bring hope and healing to children, families, and communities in the toughest places of the world. BuildaBridge spans barriers of race, class, faith and culture to promote holistic personal, family and community development. BuildaBridge offers unique programs featuring cross-cultural perspectives and arts-integrated approaches that are child-centered, trauma-informed and hope-infused.

Community Arts for Children series made possible with financial support from the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)

Š BuildaBridge International All Rights Reserved

Welcome! Welcome to Creative Safe Spaces. This workbook is the second of the three part series Community Arts for Children. In this course, you will learn about creating safe spaces for children and the role of the arts in child development. You will understand the importance of ritual and how the arts can help children learn. This course will also teach you how to use the arts to create metaphors and foster resilience in children. Finally, you will explore some basic elements that should be included in programing for children. The course is designed to be completed in small groups with a facilitator to guide you. You should draw or write your ideas throughout this workbook. It is yours to keep. This workbook is divided into six lessons. Each lesson starts with an art experience followed by a short reading with basic concepts and definitions. Next, the lesson includes a real world example of that concept from communities around the world. Every lesson also contains learning experiences to help you practice new concepts and tools to use in your community. The lesson ends with a reflection to help you think about how these ideas apply to you and your community. At the end of this course there is a list of web links and resources for you to explore.

LEARNING OBJECTIVES: 1. Discuss the characteristics and the importance of safe and creative spaces for children 2. Introduce the role of creative safe spaces and art-making experiences in holistic child development 3. Present the importance of ritual in creating safe spaces for children, teaching values, and building community 4. Explain the concepts of arts-integrated learning and multiple intelligences 5. Demonstrate the art-as-metaphor concept for helping children express difficult feelings and learn life skills 6. Present the role of creative safe spaces, art-making, and caring adults in fostering children’s resilience 7. Discuss basic considerations in planning creative protection programs for children Upon completion of the module participants should be able to: 

 

 

Identify the characteristics of a safe creative space for children and transform a space into a creative safe place for children Lead an arts experience that promotes holistic child development Plan a child-safe activity ritual including a motto that reinforces community values, an opening song, and a farewell gesture Use arts-integrated learning to effectively explain complex information to children Understand and identify individual learning strengths and skills Design and lead an art-as-metaphor activity that helps children express feelings and learn life lessons Write a basic plan for a creative community child protection project


Table of Contents Lesson 1. Spaces for Children Reading: Creative Safe Spaces Example: Orphanage in Haiti Experience: Space Transformation Reflection: Children’s Spaces Creative Safe Spaces Checklist Homework: Community Walk

Lesson 2. Arts in Child Development Reading: Arts and Holistic Child Development Example: Growth through Art-making Experience: Obwisana Reflection: Growth

Lesson 3. Importance of Ritual Reading: Importance of Ritual Example: Making Mottos Meaningful Experience: Ritual Planning Experience: Motto and Song Making Reflection: Rituals

Lesson 4. Arts for Learning Reading: Arts for Learning Example: Ready to Learn Experience: Digestive System Drama Reflection: Multiple Intelligences Homework: Multiple Intelligences Assessment

Lesson 5. Art as Metaphor Reading: Art as Metaphor Example: Blow, Wind, Blow! Example: The Broken Pot Experience: Broken Experience: Human Knots Reflection: Metaphors and Healing

Lesson 6. Fostering Resilience Reading: Fostering Resilience Example: Building Resilience after Terror

Experience: Teaching Metaphors of Resilience Reflection: Learning from Metaphor Lessons

Lesson 7. Programing for Children Reading: Considerations for Children’s programs Experience: Arts Experiences for Different Ages Experience: Planning Programs for Children Course Summary Course Reflection Glossary References Links

Safe Places Adapted from a reflection by a Community Artist None of the children at the community center love to draw more than Stefano. When I met him, he was nine and all of his friends told me he was an artist. Stefano was very shy and reserved. Once he knew that I was an artist and was going to teach art activities at the center, he began to hang out at the center, asking for paper and printing "how-to-draw" pages for anything from cars to cartoons. Stefano signed up for all of our drawing workshops for the past five years but he has never finished any of them. Stefano has a rough life at home. His mom is always at work. Both his dad and his older Brother are in prison and have been as long as I have known him. He spends many hours alone at his house. This is one reason he used to come over to the community center (which is across from his house) nearly every day. Another reason is that he knows that it is a place where he belongs and is valued. At some time during the 10 weeks of each art course, Stefano usually gets overwhelmed with the process and stops coming to workshop. Sometimes he will come to the show and participate. Sometimes he will show up at the end of the exhibition. Before sessions start again, he is back to hanging out at the community center. During registration, he will sign up for one or more workshops and we go through the whole process again. We have talked over the past five years about the fact that he has trouble finishing things. He's working on it. Last May for our Spring Exhibition, he came right after school and helped set up the show and assisted the DJ throughout the whole process. While he didn't finish artwork for that exhibition, now as a 14 year old boy, he realizes he can help make the exhibition happen. Stefano has taught me that the success of the arts program has less to do with the artwork that is exhibited at the annual show and more to do with the fact that we can create a safe, consistent place for youth—a place where they know they are welcomed, loved, and can express their ideas and creativity far beyond the bounds of a workshop.

Spaces for Children

Objective: Discuss the characteristics and the importance of safe and creative spaces for children


Experience: Safe Places Map Goal: Practice making a risk map for children In a small group, imagine that you are children of different ages and backgrounds. Together, draw a map of your community that highlights where you like to be and where you feel safe and where you don’t feel safe and are scared. Copy your group’s map below.



Lesson 1. Safe Spaces What do all children need to thrive? Children are very different from adults. Each child has their own needs but all children need love, affirmation, and a sense of meaningful productivity, purpose, and belonging. Spaces for children should be designed to meet these universal needs. They should be spaces where children can learn and be creative. Spaces should be: Safe Spaces for children need to protect them from physical and emotional harm and help them feel safe. Physically safe spaces are spaces that are clean, free of sharp objects and dangerous things. They have room for children to move and play. To keep children physically safe, All children need: adults need to set rules of proper behavior and be constantly aware of what is going on  Love in the environment. Physically safe spaces also meet children’s basic needs. These  Affirmation spaces should be accessible to all including those with learning and physical disabilities  Meaningful Productivity and those who are pregnant. Whenever  Purpose possible, children should have access to clean drinking water, basic sanitation and  Belonging hand washing facilities. Children also need emotionally safe spaces that are child-friendly. Child friendly spaces “provide children with a sense of safety, structure, continuity, and support amidst often overwhelming circumstances." These are spaces where children feel free to express their thoughts and ideas without fear of ridicule. Safe spaces for children should uphold peace and gender equity and accept differences of class, caste, and religion. Children need to be surrounded by caring adults who listen to them and encourage them. Adults should address each child by their name and give them each individual attention. Emotionally safe spaces encourage child participation and help children normalize common reactions to challenging situations. Special/Sacred Spaces for children should be special spaces, sacred places. When children enter a special place they cross a threshold from the ordinary world to the extraordinary world. This threshold is created through clear boundaries and a single opening where children enter and exit. It is reinforced by opening and closing rituals that welcome children to the special space and prepare them to 4

leave. Children should feel connected to the space. One way to accomplish this is to let children add their creations to the space like painting a mural on the wall or hanging up their artwork. Creative Spaces for children need to be creative spaces. Children should be free to express themselves in both discussion and art-making. Adults should encourage acceptance of different views Creative spaces and opinions. Creative spaces should have lots of color, have color, sound, different textures to touch, and objects with which children can interact. These spaces are filled with sound, and things engaging materials like maps, photos, diagrams, and to touch artwork that will encourage children to be curious and involved. You can make creative safe spaces for children anywhere from informal settlements and alleys to community centers and local businesses. These spaces can be transformed into creative spaces with a little creativity. The cover of this book shows children playing in Haiti where community members and volunteers helped transform an earthquake affected outdoor space into a creative safe space.


How to Transform Difficult Spaces into Creative Safe Spaces Space


Tent community

The space cannot be permanent

Informal settlement

There are many small spaces, but not a large enough area for children. There are open sewers and no place to use the latrine.

Rural village

There are no materials to use for making a boundary or decorating with engaging materials

Urban alley

After natural disaster (earthquake)

Community Center

Solution Use movable things like rocks to make a boundary and decorate space Try to find a small group of spaces that you can clean up. Make a boundary for the space using moveable objects like rocks or cones. Then clean and decorate inside the boundary. Build a latrine (see appendix) or find another space. Use sticks, stones, and dirt to make the space more creative. Dig a trench around the space to make a boundary

Each day arrive 15 minutes before the program to clean and The space is small and decorate the space. Make a many people use and moveable boundary out of rope or litter the space cones and encourage others to stay outside the boundary unless they want to join your activities. Move rubble to one area of the There is earthquake space. Use rubble to make rubble everywhere that boundary around the space. prevents the space from Use rubble to make sculptures being clean, safe and that make the space more creative creative. Each day arrive 15 minutes before The walls of the room your program starts to move are bare and chairs and desks and chairs to the edge of desks clutter the space. the room. Bring posters, flags, or banners to hang on the walls.


Example: Is this a creative safe space for children?

What would you do to make this a creative safe space?


This is the same space. What is different?


Example: Safe Spaces for Children in Haiti All of these pictures are a space for children near Port Au Prince, Haiti. The compound had a church, an activity room, and an outdoor area. During the earthquake, the concrete activity room collapsed and one child was killed. The other buildings were cracked and unsafe. Children were afraid to sleep inside the buildings and started sleeping in tents outside in the compound yard. The outside area was littered with dangerous car parts, trash and pieces of the collapsed building. Community leaders were trying to rebuild, but while they were building, there was no space for the children to play safely. BuildaBridge visited the space in 2010. The artists and the children worked together to clean up a small part of the space. They asked the owner to move the car parts while they moved trash and the big pieces of rubble. They used the smaller rubble pieces to make a boundary around the new space to make it a special or sacred space. Children painted murals on the walls to make their space more creative and to feel more connected to it. They also created a sculpture garden with the building pieces, paint and some rubble. The new space now had room for children to learn and play. It was decorated with engaging and creative images which helped it become a physically and emotionally safe space.


Experience: Space Transformation Goal: Practice transforming a space into a creative safe space for children Divide into groups and identify a section of the room your group will transform. In 10 minutes, transform the space to be a safe, special, and creative place for children. Write a song about the important parts of your group’s space below and perform it for everyone.


Reflection: Children’s Spaces Where do children play in your community?

Where do they learn?

Are these Creative Safe Spaces? How could you make them Creative Safe Spaces?


Creative Safe Space Checklist Use this checklist to ensure your space is safe for children. Write additional items in the blank spaces. Before the Program begins ensure that:      

Children have access to a latrine and water Space is free of sharp or dangerous things Space is clean Space has defined boundaries and a threshold that children cross to enter and exit Area has lots of color, sound, different textures to touch and interact with Space is filled with engaging materials like maps, photos, diagrams, and artwork

_____________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________ During the Program ensure that:        

Adults work with children to set and maintain rules Children are encouraged to share their opinions and ideas Adults listen to children and encourage them Adults learn and use children’s names Threshold is reinforced by greeting children daily as they enter Children feel connected to the space by helping decorate it with their artwork Adults ask children what they think is needed to improve the safe space Adults encourage acceptance to different views and opinions

_____________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________


Homework Activity: Community Walk Goal: Evaluate spaces for children in your community with your new understanding of child-safe spaces Take a walk in your community and look for spaces where children learn and play. As you walk, talk to a friend or think about what makes these safe or unsafe spaces. Also consider if these spaces are creative spaces. Are they sacred spaces—why or why not? Write notes and paste or draw pictures below.


Arts in Child Development

Objective: Introduce the role of creative safe spaces and art-making experiences in holistic child development

Lesson 2. Arts in Child Development Creative safe spaces and art-making experiences can encourage healthy and holistic child development. Holistic child development means integrated growth of all parts of a child. Holistic child development approaches encourage children’s emotional, intellectual, physical, social, creative, and spiritual growth. Focused artmaking experiences can help distressed children normalize common reactions to social difficulties and promote all elements of holistic child development. Emotional Growth Art-making builds self-esteem and self-appreciation by giving children opportunities to demonstrate their uniqueness and experience success and accomplishment. The process of analysis and critique of artworks build’s children’s ability to accept constructive criticism. Art-making also provides opportunities for children to make independent decisions which encourages a feeling of self-efficacy and emotional satisfaction. Art experiences can help children express and explore their emotions in healthy ways. Intellectual Growth Art-making is associated with higher academic performance, an indicator of intellectual ability. Early childhood arts experiences form a foundation for literacy by encouraging children to communicate with symbols which will later help them interpret and communicate in words. Art-making promotes intellectual growth through requiring children to make decisions and self-evaluate. Problem-solving is a key element in all art experiences. Art-making also develops children’s ability to observe and interpret their world. Physical Growth Art-making helps children develop control over their large and small muscle groups. It encourages hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills, which means precise muscle movements. Art-making experiences also develop body-awareness. Social Growth Art-making provides opportunities for children to develop relationships with their peers. It helps children develop social skills like sharing, taking turns, and negotiating. Group art experiences foster communities of learning and provide opportunities for leadership and affirmation. Art-making also encourages conflict resolution, collaboration, empathy, and social tolerance- all critical social abilities for adult life.

Creative Growth Children grow creatively through arts processes even if they appear to have little artistic talent. Art-making encourages children to explore and imagine possibilities. It encourages children to create, experiment and analyze, which are all part of creativity. Spiritual Growth Art-making promotes spiritual growth by building a sense of belonging and identity. It helps children identify their personal goals, aspirations, and motivations, and have hope for their future. Art experiences promote children’s awareness of the world outside themselves and of their role in this world.

Arts Experience Music Drama

Promotes math skills, reading awareness, longterm memory improvement, communication skills long-term memory improvement, builds vocabulary, literacy


observation skills, coordination, motor skills, social skills


ability to calculate, spatial awareness, fine motor skills, sharing skills, communication skills, observation skills self-validation, sense-making, selfidentification, externalization of feelings

Writing/Storytelling Environmental arts

self-esteem, self-efficacy, problem solving, strategizing

All arts experiences

self-esteem, motivation, self-expression, healthy self-concept, sense of uniqueness, problem solving, judgment and analysis


Example: Social Growth through Art-making Adapted from a Community Artist Reflection One of the classroom assistants in the Graffiti class (Adriana) told a story about Rosa, a participant who didn’t have the ability to speak. Adriana said that in the beginning of the week the other children were saying “she can’t do it” when it came to things they were doing in the workshop or elsewhere. However, community leaders had the same expectations for Rosa as they did for other children. They believed that she could do the work they had given her despite her disability. She was in the Graffiti, Visual Arts, and Music workshops. The Graffiti lead artist noticed she had a steady hand, and did a great job painting. In Music, she followed along with the beat and rhythm with the others. Adriana noticed that by the end of the week the kids were including her in new ways, whereas in the past they would have dismissed her. Now that other children saw that she could do the things that they could, they started to pull her along with them to make sure she was included. The Visual Arts & Music leader wrote, “The children were surprisingly patient with each other, especially with Rosa because she is deaf. They were very sympathetic with her… there was a genuine understanding.”


Experience: Obwisana Goal: Practice using music to promote holistic growth of children

Obwisana is a children’s song and game that is sung in Ghana. Sit with your group in a circle with a rock in front of each person. Sing Obwisana and use your right hand to pick up the rock and tap it on the beat. After a few verses move the rock 2 beats to the left and two beats to the right. Then move the rock to the left on beat 1 and 2, to the right on 3. Leave it there and pick a the rock of the person to the right on beat 4. Use your right hand to move the rock to your right on the beat and pick up the rock of the person sitting on their right so that all the rocks move around the circle.


Reflection: Growth What types of growth do you think the Obwisana experience promotes? Give a reason for your answers.

What types of growth do the children you work with need most? List them. How do you know that they need these types of growth?


Importance of Ritual

Haitian Welcome Song Mwen byen kontan FrĂŠ mwen Ou vini Lakay mwen Map baw you gwo Lanmen Kanpe, Chita Fe you ti Souri, Ha Ha Ha Ha

Objective: Present the importance of ritual in creating safe spaces for children, teaching values, and building community

Lesson 3. Importance of Ritual What is ritual? Ritual is a series of ceremonial actions that are performed to help transition, heal, believe, and celebrate. For example, every night you may brush your teeth, wash, and read in bed to relax and transition into sleep. This is a daily ritual. An example of a life ritual is a wedding. The bride and the groom follow a series of ceremonial actions that help them and their families celebrate their union and transition into married life. Every activity for children should be a ritual with the same structure every day. Rituals are important to helping children feel safe and feel like they belong. Rituals help create emotionally safe, child-friendly spaces. They decrease anxiety and engage the brain and emotions. Rituals help children get ready to learn and make them feel like they are a part of a community. Rituals can also teach history, tradition, and values. Rituals are healing too. For example, singing the same song every morning can be comforting for children because it gives them a sense that life is predictable and that they are a part of a special community. The diagram on the next page describes an example of a child-safe activity ritual.

Rituals:  Create a threshold

for a community space  Build community  Create safety  Promote healing  Teach values

Child-safe Activity Ritual: Greeting A greeting welcomes children into the space. Each child should be greeted with their name one by one by the adults as they enter. This makes children feel wanted and valued. Even if the space has no door, they feel like they are entering a safe space with caring adults. They are crossing a threshold into this special community. A Beginning Ritual A beginning ritual helps children stop thinking about the outside world and start focusing on the activities. A beginning ritual should include an opening experience, a motto, and rules. All children should be able to participate in all parts of the beginning ritual. The opening experience could be a song, dance, or action. It should be the same every day and should provide an opportunity for participants to learn something about each other and develop 21

a common community. After the opening, leaders should involve children in creating and reciting the motto and rules. An Art-making Experience The art-making experience begins after the beginning ritual. Children learn and create in one or more art forms each day. This is the only part of the session that changes daily. A Closing Ritual An ending ritual closes the time together and helps children transition and be ready to leave. An ending ritual should include recitation of the motto and a closing experience that all children can participate in together like a song, dance, or farewell gesture. The same ending ritual should be repeated after each session. A Parting A parting helps children move from the activity space to the outside world. Adults should say goodbye to each child by name individually as they cross the threshold of the space. Child-safe Activity Ritual

Child silhouettes courtesy of


Experience: Goal: Practice planning a child-safe activity ritual Use the sheet below to plan out your program for 3 days. Remember what a ritual is and what it should include. Day 1 Greeting Describe how you will greet children each day Opening Ritual Describe how you will open each day Activity List the major activity for each day Closing Ritual Describe how you will close the day Parting Describe how you will say goodbye each day


Day 2

Day 3

Example: Making Mottos Meaningful Based on an interview with a Community Artist

BuildaBridge Motto: I will do my best with all that is my power And with the help of my community To learn all that I can learn To surround myself with people who want what is best for me To respect myself and my body To build bridges of peace and hope In order to have the good life that I deserve

A motto focuses attention on different things, but the important part of the motto is how the leader uses it to expand understanding. The leader shows what is sacred in the motto. Children can say the words in the motto, but not understand the deeper message. In the BuildaBridge motto we recite “the good life that I deserve” but what does that mean? When you first ask children what does “the good life that I deserve” look like, they say “I want to be a millionaire and have a big house” or “I want to be a famous dancer like Beyoncé.” When the leader starts to ask questions they get deeper answers. Leaders ask what really matters and then children say things like “family, being in love, being happy.” When leaders dig deeper, they learn that having a big house really means having a sacred space that belongs to you. A child might start thinking about what color they want the walls in their room to be. Eventually they start to understand a home as a place where you come in from the cold and are warmed by love. This is the real meaning of the good life. Leaders need to help children explore these ideas of home and the good life to make mottos meaningful. As one child said “Home is the place where you are safe, where you can think about yourself, where you can grow.” Creative safe spaces for children are like homes—safe places where you can think about yourself and where you can grow.


Mottos One way to begin a child-safe activity is with a short saying that all children read or say out loud together. This is called a motto. A motto is repeated at every gathering to remind children of values and boundaries, and create a sense of community. Each community group should write their own motto that reflects their group values. For example, the Young Haitian Leaders motto below was written by a group of Haitian youth as a part of an arts-based youth leadership training in Philadelphia, PA., USA. What values do you hear in the Young Haitian Leaders and Haitian coat of arms below? What values would you like to reinforce in your community motto?

Young Haitian Leaders "As Young Haitian Leaders

Haitian Coat of Arms The Haitian coat of arms at the center of the Haitian flag has a famous motto at the bottom “L’Union Fait La Force” which means “In Union there is Strength.” This design was first used in 1807, by President Alexandre Pétion at a time when Haiti had been divided for 14 years.


We have to help others everywhere, anytime We believe that belief and knowledge are the bridge to attain success We believe if we work hard and honestly we will change our nation We want each Haitian to know that together as one we can get out of this situation."

Experience: Ritual Making Goal: Write a beginning and ending ritual that reinforces group values and safe spaces Work in a group to write a motto with values for a beginning ritual. Write your motto below. Teach the motto to all of the groups in the room. Values:


Opening Motto:


Opening Song: Work in a group to write a short song for your opening experience that includes opportunities to learn about the people in your group. Write the song below and perform it for all of the groups in the room. Opening Song:


Ending Ritual: Work in a group to create a farewell gesture for the closing experience in your ending ritual. Describe it below in words and images.






Reflection: Rituals Perform your farewell gesture. How does this gesture make you feel?

Does the closing part of your ritual relate to the opening part?

What rituals do you notice in the organization of this workbook?

How do these rituals help you learn?

Arts for Learning

Objective: Explain the concepts of arts-integrated learning and multiple intelligences

Lesson 4. Arts for Learning The different ways that people learn are related their individual strengths and skills—how they are smart. Psychologist Howard Gardner describes this as multiple intelligences. His idea of Multiple Intelligences emphasizes that one person is not smarter than another, but smart in different ways. Linguistic People who have linguistic intelligence are good at language and at thinking out loud. They tend to remember things that they have listened to on the radio or in lectures. Logical-Mathematical People with logical-mathematical intelligence are good at numbers, details and analysis. Math and science might be their favorite subjects. They solve problems using a step by step approach. Musical People with musical intelligence have a good sense of rhythm and notes. They are able to sing and play musical instruments and can often remember a song after hearing it just a few times. Visual-Spatial People with visual-spatial intelligences can see the multiple dimensions of the world. They understand relationships and systems. They can read maps and charts and prefer reading material that has a lot of illustrations or pictures. They are good at looking at something and drawing it accurately. Body-Kinesthetic People with body-kinesthetic intelligence are good at sports and dance. They enjoy learning with hands-on activities where they can touch or handle things to experience them. Intrapersonal People with intrapersonal intelligence are happy being by themselves. They are independent thinkers who understand their own strengths and weaknesses. They learn best by reading and reflecting individually. 31

Interpersonal People with interpersonal intelligence are good at communicating with others and working in groups. They do not mind being a leader, but they prefer to discuss and solve problems with others. Naturalistic People with naturalistic intelligence understand the environment and use this understanding to solve problems. They usually have pets or gardens and understand the functions of the body well. People with this type of intelligence learn best in outdoor environments. Creative arts allow children and adults to use all of these intelligences when learning. Arts help nourish sensory, intellectual, emotional and motor skills which are all central to learning. The arts can make learning exciting, fun, and rewarding for children with different interests and academic talents. Each of the arts has particular strengths: Art Modality Strength Drama Helps with understanding social relationships, complex issues and emotions, improves concentrated thought and Music

Improves math achievement and proficiency, reading and cognitive development; boosts SAT verbal scores and


Helps with creative thinking, originality, elaborations and flexibility; improves expressive skills, social tolerance, self

Visual arts

Improve content and organization of writing; promote sophisticated reading skills and interpretation of text,

Multi- arts (combination

Helps with reading, verbal and math skills; improves the ability to collaborate and higher-order thinking skills

Arts-integrated learning is a method of teaching academic subjects through arts experiences. Integrating arts into academic learning improves learning content and builds children’s cognitive skills. Creative arts stimulate the brain and allow children with different styles of learning to process information in multiple ways. As a result, arts-integrated learning improves academic achievement.


Example: Ready to Learn Jean-Luc could not read. As hard as he tried, he struggled to concentrate and make sense of the words. The school was very far away and his mother could not afford to pay school fees. Sometimes he had to go to the market and buy things for his family. He didn't mind, except when he had to buy new things with a lot of words on the label. He wasn't always sure if he was buying dish soap or juice and they didn’t like it when he opened the packages to smell them. One day, his mother heard about a new kind of learning program that used art-making as a way to learn reading. Jean-Luc didn’t want to go, but his mother insisted– how could art-making help him learn to read labels in the market? On the first day he was greeted at the door--the smiling and energetic leader called it the "threshold to the world." As he looked in the room he could see colored posers with big letters and pictures and books everywhere. Before he went in, the leader taught him a special handshake and asked him, "Jean-Luc, are you ready to learn?" Jean-Luc responded "yes" in a small and reluctant voice, but he was curious about the things he saw inside. He entered. Throughout the summer learning camp, each day would open with a song and a special motto. After a few days he started to recognize the words in the motto on the posters and in the books. They went on daily walks and along the way they had to draw what they saw, write poems about how they felt, and participated in activities to help them draw what they saw better. He made many friends and bonded with other children. The learning camp demonstrated and practiced reading by drawing, singing, and sometimes dancing. It was fun and challenging. Jean-Luc found himself quickly remembering the letters and words and he started seeing them everywhere he went. A few weeks later, he went back to the market. He was amazed at how many new words he could understand on the labels. And best of all, he was absolutely certain when he put a bottle of dish soap in his basket.


Experience: Digestive System Drama Goal: Demonstrate how art experiences can be used to effectively explain complex and challenging information to children Use the diagram below to test your knowledge of the human digestive system.

Pretest: What are the parts of the human digestive system and what is their function in food digestion?


Experience: Digestive System Drama

Part Teeth Tongue Salivary gland Esophagus Epiglottis Stomach Intestine Rectum


Function Grinds food so it will fit down the throat Moves food in the mouth so teeth can grind it and pushes food down the throat Makes saliva to soften and break down the food in your mouth Squeezes food down to the stomach A trap door that decides if food goes to the stomach or the lungs Breaks down food more by rolling and adding acid Absorbs nutrients from food and pushes it down towards the rectum Stores the stool until it is full and then tells the brain that it is time to use the bathroom

Experience: Digestive System Drama Can you remember the steps in the digestive system? This experiential exercise will help you learn them. In your group, each person will play the role of a different part of the digestive system. Several people should choose to play the food. You should make a name tag for your part. As a group, think of sounds and repetitive phrases that describe the function of each part. As the food passes through the digestive system, each person should make the sound and say the phrase for their part. Repeat the digestive process for each piece of food. Then, switch parts and name tags with someone and repeat again.


Post-test: What are the parts of the human digestive system and what is their function in food digestion?


Reflection: Multiple Intelligences Did the digestive system drama help you remember the steps in the digestive process? Explain why it did or did not help you remember.

Which of the multiple intelligences is your preferred way of learning? Which is your least preferred? Give an example of how you have used your preferred intelligence to learn in the past.

Which of these did the Digestive System Drama activity use?

Describe how you would teach children how to make bread using 3 of the multiple intelligences:


Homework Activity: Goal: Evaluate your learning preferences in order to better understand your strengths for leading child-safe activities Read the descriptions of each intelligence, then assess yourself on each of the lines inside the circle (zero is the center and 100% is the outer circle). If you prefer learning with the intelligence you are assessing then place a dot on the line and close to where the name of that intelligence is written (the outer circle). If you do not prefer learning in that way, then place a dot closer to the center of the circle. Then join all the dots. If you rated yourself 100% on each line, you would be drawing a circle.

Art as Metaphor

Objective: Demonstrate the art-as-metaphor concept for helping children earn life skills

Lesson 5. Art as Metaphor Metaphors use a familiar concept to represent, symbolize, and teach a new or less familiar idea. Metaphors say things indirectly. They put two things together that are not alike in most ways to show how they are similar in one important way. For example in the Haitian proverb, Famn se kajou: plis li vye, plis li bon: Woman is like mahogany, the older the better. Women and mahogany seem like they are very different, but you can put them together to emphasize that they both get better with age. Metaphors are an important part of art-making. Metaphors are one of the most powerful teaching tools of artmaking. The art-making process can be a metaphor to describe life. For example spotting in dance can be a metaphor for trust or for relying on friends and family for support during difficult experiences. Can you think of other art forms that might be a metaphor for something else? Children can also use metaphors to express feelings that are difficult to express verbally. For example, you could ask a child to draw a tree that shows how they are feeling today. What would you think if their tree was bright green in a sunny forest with other green trees? What if their tree had no leaves and grew alone in an empty parking lot? These trees are metaphors for children’s feelings of happiness, sadness or loneliness. Art-making can be a metaphor to teach things other than arts skills such as: wisdom, patience, goal-setting, asking for help, and parenting skills. Remember “The New King of the Forest� from the last course? What did the story teach you? Did it tell you directly what you should learn, or did you have to figure it out? You can use the steps on this page to create your own metaphor in your child-safe activities.


How to Create a Metaphor: Decide on the message you want to teach Choose an art form and the specific element of the art form that best relates to the message Lead an art-integrated activity As opportunities arise, make the connection of what’s happening within art making to what happens in life. Ask children questions and have a discussion to help them realize the metaphor without telling them what it is. Ask:   

What was hard about hits experience? What was easy? “How does what happened in the artwork relate to what happens in life?”

Example: Creating Metaphors through Arts Experiences Message: _____________________ Art form: beading Activity: Divide children into two small groups. Give all but one child a short piece of string and 2-3 beads. Give the last child a handful of beads a long piece of string and a needle. Tell the groups that they must make a necklace with their materials. They can work by themselves or in a group but the person or group with the longest necklace wins. Give them 5 minutes to make their necklace. Discussion Questions: 

Who has the longest necklace? Is it a person or group?

Are there any ways we could have made a longer necklace?

What did you learn from this experience?

How is your life like this experience? 42

Example: Blow, Wind Blow! By a Community Artist Haitian folk music is a reflection of Haitian culture, heavy in symbolism, open to interpretation. Such music is a perfect tool for the Art-as-Metaphor model, which can allow the music to blow the activity in any direction.“Soufle Van” which is Kreyol for “Blow, Wind,” is a beautiful Haitian folk song that I learned as a child. “Blow, wind blow, wind. we will see them. Blow, wind blow, wind. we will see them. My mother sails, my father sails, Blow, blow we will see them.” Different things about Haitian culture and history can be learned from this song. As descendants of African slaves, Haitians have high regards for the sea, the one thing that connects and divides Haiti from the homeland Africa. There is also, in Haitian Vodun culture, a high regard for ancestors, who were brought to Haiti on the TransAtlantic slave trade on big ships centuries ago. In times of hardship, Haitians have been known to get in boats embarking on treacherous journeys to surrounding countries in search for a better life. The winds are a major factor in whether or not these voyages make it to their destination. The speaker in the song, whom I believe is a child, is urging the wind to blow. Her mother and father are at sea, and if the wind blows she will see them again. The metaphors in such a message are many. In the song, we see a child with hope, not afraid to voice her fears and desires. The song speaks about people on a dangerous journey trying to find their way through, fighting unfavourable winds, or being carried by favourable winds along the way. The beauty of the Haitian folk song is that it can be taken in many directions, the winds of Haitian symbolism can carry a session to many destinations. Through this one song, children can learn about the Trans-Atlantic slave trade, refugees, the connection between Africa and the Americas, which are all relevant in both Haiti and the United States, both of which have descendants of African slaves. This song is like life because just like the child in this song, we must always trust that things will work out. Hope. This song is like life because just like people sailing on the sea, we can continue through life even though things are not going our way. Perseverance. This song is like life because even though the wind may blow against us, we can remain strong. Resilience. This song is like life because just like the child in this song, we should learn to voice our fears and desires, and the arts provides a way for us to do this. 43

Experience: The Broken Pot Goal: Practice art-making as metaphor individually Materials: Hammer or rock, pot or something that can be broken, glue, paint, markers, paper bag, magazines, markers, newspaper Put your pot or dish into the paper or plastic bag. Break the pot by hitting it with the side of a hammer or rock. Remove all of the pieces and spread them out in front of you. On newspaper, put the pieces together in whatever way you wish. Using paing, pictures, markers, etc, decorate or label the different pieces of your pot to represent aspects of your brokenness or hurt that you would like to heal. Tell a metaphor or story about your brokenness with the final piece. Draw a picture or take a photograph of the piece and paste it below.


Example: The Imperfect Pot* The Broken Pot is an art-making experience that is part of an advanced training in art-as-metaphor. In November 2011, BuildaBridge introduced the activity to professional volunteers in Nicaragua. Each person received a perfect terra cotta pot and a hammer. The leader instructed participants to break the pot onto the paper in front of them. They were upset and did not want to break the pots. One participant said “How can I destroy beauty?” They wanted to be creators not destroyers, but eventually they all agreed. After they had broken their pots, the leader said, “Now put the pieces back together in whatever way you would like. Write your own areas of brokenness, hurt, or imperfection on the pieces.” The participants looked surprised—why would the leader tell them to break the pot only to have them put it together again? One trainee named Meybelline became frustrated saying, “I can’t get this to go like I want it!” The leader acknowledged her frustration and encouraged her to try different ways to put the pot back together. Finally, she made something closer to what she envisioned. She made her pot pieces into a flower with many stacked petals. The completed flower was a symbol of her hard work and perseverance to recover from difficulties. Each of the trainee’s pots told a different story. However the process of experimenting with different methods and being patient until they found one that worked was a metaphor for how people overcome challenges (resilience).

*Lynn Farrow, a licensed counselor, and a visual artist, introduced the broken pot experience as part of her experiences on artintegrated spiritual and character development.


Experience: Human Knots Goal: Practice art-making as metaphor in a group Stand in a circle with your group. Put your right hand into the center of the circle and take someone else’s hand. Then put your left hand in the circle and take a different person’s hand. Work together to untie the knot without letting go of anyone’s hands. When your group is finished, stand in a circle and think about what this knot and the untangling process represents to you. How is life like this human knot? For example: Life is like this human knot: we get tangled up and we have to work together to get help to straighten ourselves out. Write your metaphor below and share it with your group.

Life is like this human knot: _____________________________________ __________________________________________________________

Adapted from McArthy (2004)


Reflection: Metaphors and Healing Reflect on your Imperfect Pot process. What happened during the art experience that could be used to teach about life?

Do you think making art metaphors helps children heal or learn? Explain your answer.


Fostering Resilience

What title would you give to each picture to describe what is happening?

Objective: Present the role of creative safe spaces, art-making, and caring adults in fostering children’s resilience

Lesson 6. Fostering Resilience Can you think of a time where you were hurt or extremely afraid? What helped you recover? When children are hurt or afraid it takes time for them to recover. Resilience refers to a child’s ability to recover from difficult experiences—to bounce back. Children are naturally resilience, but poverty, violence and catastrophe can prevent children from bouncing back from challenging experiences. Research on resilience has found that vulnerable children who bounce back and succeed have four things in common:  A relationship with a caring adult  High expectations  Involvement in experiences that demands time and foster talent  Opportunities to contribute to society Creating safe spaces is essential to holistic healing through social support. Safe spaces with caring adults help children recover and foster resilience that will help them be successful in life. Social and cultural networks and practices within communities contribute to resilience of individuals and of the community itself. Adults can help foster a child’s resilience by:          

Helping children make connections with other people Helping them discover a life purpose through helping others Keeping rituals that make them feel safe Making sure children follow rules and are disciplined Teaching children to be aware of their own needs and feelings Helping them discover and express feelings through art making Helping children set goals that they can reach Teaching children to like and value themselves through consistent identification of their strengths Providing opportunities for mastery Making sure they understand that change is a part of life

Creative arts experiences also provide many of the above and thus foster children’s resilience. Arts interventions provide a sense of normalcy, support and encouragement, aesthetic nourishment and a sense of belonging. Art-making allows the child to tap their creative imagination and use this resource for connection, growth, and healing. Creative arts foster healthy communication and expression that can enhance self awareness. Art-making provides opportunities for children to bridge art creation with life events. These arts experiences help children process traumatic events and experience play and joy—all of which foster their resilience to future trauma.

Young Haitian Leaders participate in a human sculpture activity

Example: Fostering Resilience of Child Soldiers through Dance In Sierra Leone, boys and girls as young as six fought as soldiers in a brutal civil war that left child soldiers homeless, orphaned and without access to social and community support. From March to September of 2006, David Alan Harris with the Center for Victims of Torture led a program using movement and theatre that helped these distressed children process emotional reactions and build their resilience to future difficulties. Harris began each session with The Name Game, a dance where each child says “My name is_____” while showing an action of their choice and the rest of the group repeats his or her name and mimics the action. The Name Game helped group members bond and affirmed each member individually. Mimicking others’ movements built connections and provided opportunities for members to reflect on their movements and those of others. After the group established trust and community, they used a transformative theatre game to reflect on some of their extremely challenging life experiences. For example, in one session, children were asked to sculpt others in their group into images of their family before the war and then after the war. These human sculptures inspired children to talk about what led to the difference in the first and second image of their family. The creative safe space that the leaders created allowed former child soldiers to explore their reactions to life experiences in an emotionally safe environment that would foster their resilience to future challenges. Harris says that “The arts offer people a chance to symbolize what they have been through even if they can’t articulate it in words. When these kids were creating symbolizations of their experience it was helping them to tolerate what they had been through and to transform themselves through the process of creativity. Creativity is empowering. It gave them the power to begin to feel proud of themselves, cooperate with one another and to know the pleasure of being helpful to one another in a process like that.”


“Our City, Our Children, Our Pride” Mural by Big Brothers Big Sisters of NYC

Example: Building Resilience after Terror On September 11, 2001 two airplanes hit the World Trade Center in New York City, USA killing almost 3,000 people. Children in New York were afraid and anxious after the terrorist attacks. Big Brothers Big Sisters of New York City (BBBS NYC), an NGO, decided to start a mural project to help children and adults heal from their trauma. BBBS NYC worked with local artists to come up with the idea for the project called “Our City, Our Children, Our Pride.” They asked 24 teams of children and their mentors to work together to paint a tile of the mural. The tile gave children and their mentors a chance to express their fear, grief and stress with creativity. Working on the mural helped children develop strong relationships with their mentors. These relationships and healing through art making helped children bounce back from the trauma of the attacks and become more resilient to future trauma.

Mapp, I. & Koch, D. (2003)


Experience: Leading Metaphors of Resilience Goal: Practice using art-as-metaphor to build resilience Many children are upset by the earthquake that affected Haiti. Some are afraid to go inside and others have trouble sleeping. Develop an art experience that builds a child's skill, inner resources, or relationships (key factors in fostering resilience). Message:

Art Form: Goal (describe what you would demonstrate)

Connection: (describe how you would make the connection between the art-making process and the life process of overcoming fear)

Questions: (what questions would you ask children to help them make the connection?)


Experience: Leading Metaphors of Resilience Goal: Practice leading an art-as-metaphor activity Divide into groups of 3. Each person in your group should lead a metaphor activity while the others in the group participate. Reflection: What was the most effective part of the activity you led?

What was the least effective part?

What is the most difficult part of using art-as-metaphor?


Programs for Children

Objective: Discuss basic considerations in planning creative protection programs for children

Lesson 7. Programs for Children By this point in the course you have learned a lot about how children benefit from the arts and art-making, but what can you do with this knowledge? How do you move from ideas into action? This section will help you start thinking about what it takes to start a project or program for children. Before you start a creative community protection program for children you should consider: Who will you serve? Who is your target population—that is, who is the project intended to benefit? The project that you plan should be child-centered which means that it focuses on the needs and interests of the child. You need a lot of information about the children that you will target to do this effectively. For example, you should know what ages and how many children your program has the capacity to handle. It is also important to know what types of art experiences these children are interested in and which ones are most appropriate for their age group. The chart at the end of this section will help you think about what arts activities are appropriate for various age groups. You should also talk to children, parents, and others with knowledge of children in your community. Who will lead or support your project? You should also consider who will lead your program and what skills and qualities these individuals should have. You may need teachers, artists, business people, or NGO workers to help accomplish your program. The most successful community arts programs are led, in part, by groups of people in the community that they serve. Choosing these groups of project leaders should be based on who is willing and who is able. Ability is not just based on education or training, but should also be based on experience. Creative protection programs for children should include creative people with knowledge of the arts and people who have experience and have been effective working with children. Children or youth should be involved in planning projects from which they will benefit. Parents are also an important group to include in project planning and leadership. The people that work directly with children should be well prepared to create a safe creative learning environment.


Creative people that build creative safe spaces for children: Are empathetic, optimistic, and hopeful Will set a good example for children Are committed to excellence Believe in children’s abilities to address their own challenges Create safe creative spaces for children Set clear boundaries Respond to children with respect and professionalism Are comfortable working as a part of a diverse team Before you start recruiting volunteers, write your own list of qualities that are important to your project or program. Sometimes these creative people need to be trained in some of the things that you learned in this course like how to create a safe creative place for children. It is also important that you have enough creative people to manage the number of children that you wish to serve. You should have at least two adults no matter how small the group, and at least 1 adult for every 5 children in larger groups. Some of these adults can be teaching artists and others can be assistants. Look at the chart below to determine how many adults you will need for your project. Number of Children 10 20 30

Number of Adults needed 2 4 6

What else is out there? Finally you must consider what other programs, organizations, or people are doing similar work. There might be an organization in your community who already has children and space but needs help designing a program or adding arts to their program. It is always better to collaborate than to compete with programs in your community. It is also helpful to research successful program models outside of your community. This book series has many examples, but there are many more on the internet and in books. Use the online resources provided to learn more about community arts for children before you start your program.


Experience: Arts Experiences for Different Ages Goal: Reflect on how art experiences are adapted to different ages Work in a group to fill out the chart below with examples of art experiences for different aged children. If you do not have knowledge or experience in these arts or age areas, find someone in the room who can help you.

Visual Dance Music Culinary Drama Writing 57

1-4 years Adults help children with simple painting like hand printing the wall

5-10 years Children help decide mural themes. Adults draw outlines and children fill

11-14 years Children decide mural themes. Adults help with layout and refining painting

15-18 years Children decide and plan mural themes and execution. Adults coach

Experience: Planning Programs for Children Goal: Begin planning a creative community child protection project Reflect on your community and the range of community projects that would benefit children in your community. Think about the questions you should consider before starting a program and fill in the form below.

Title of Project Ages of Children Where Children live Project Description:

Number of Children Number of Adults needed

What types of art experiences might you use?

Skills and qualities that teaching artists need for your program:

What other programs are in your community that you can learn from or collaborate with?

What other programs are outside your community that you can learn from?

Number of Sessions: _____sessions over _____ days Space needed: Materials needed: Community Assets that might benefit your project:

How will you know if your project was successful?


Course Summary: Spaces for children should be designed to meet their universal needs of love, affirmation, meaningful productivity, purpose, and belonging. They should be physically and emotionally safe spaces where children feel free to express their thoughts and ideas without fear of ridicule. Spaces for children should also be sacred so that when children enter they cross a threshold from the ordinary to the extraordinary world. These spaces need to be creative with lots of color, sound, and things to touch. Creative safe spaces and art-making experiences can encourage healthy and holistic child development. Art-making experiences promote emotional, intellectual, physical, social, creative, and spiritual growth. Rituals help create emotionally safe, child-friendly spaces. Rituals define a threshold for a community space, build community, create safety, promote healing, and teach values. Child-safe activity rituals include a greeting, a beginning ritual, an art making experience, a closing ritual, and a parting. One way to begin a child-safe activity is with rhythm and music that reduces anxiety and then a motto that reminds children of values and boundaries and creates a sense of community. Arts-integrated learning uses the arts to more effectively teach academic subjects. Children and adults have preferences for learning called multiples intelligences. These include: linguistic, logical-mathematical, visual-spatial, body-kinesthetic, intrapersonal, interpersonal and naturalistic. Arts-integrated learning allows children to use all of their multiple intelligences when learning. Art-making can be a metaphor to teach things other than arts skills: wisdom, patience, goal-setting, asking for help, and parenting skills. The art-making process can be a metaphor to describe life. Children are naturally resilience, but poverty, violence, and catastrophe can prevent children from bouncing back from challenging experiences. Arts interventions provide a sense of normalcy, support and encouragement, connection, relationships, aesthetic nourishment, and a sense of belonging —all of which foster their resilience to future trauma. Before starting a program for children, community leaders should decide who the program will serve and learn about this target population. They should also consider who will lead the program and what skills and qualities these individuals should have. Finally leaders must consider what other programs, organizations, or people are doing similar work so that they can collaborate and learn from their work.


Course Reflection: What was the most helpful thing that you learned in this course?

What would you like to learn more about?

Do you think these concepts will work with children in your community?

Why or Why not?


Congratulations! You finished the second course, Creative Safe Spaces. Next , in Program Development, you will learn how to apply some of these ideas to planning your own program.


Glossary Universal needs of children: the things that all children need including love, affirmation, meaningful productivity, purpose, and belonging Creative Safe Spaces: spaces for children that that are physically and environmentally safe, special/sacred, and creative Holistic Child Development: integrated growth of all parts of the child including emotional, intellectual, physical, social, creative, and spiritual Ritual: a series of ceremonial actions that are performed to help transition, heal, believe, and celebrate Ritual for child-safe activities: threshold, greeting, beginning ritual, artmaking experience, closing ritual, and a parting Motto: a short saying that is repeated to build community and reinforce values and boundaries Multiple Intelligences: Howard Gardner’s idea of the different ways that people learn including linguistic, logical-mathematical, musical, visual-spatial, bodykinesthetic, intrapersonal, interpersonal, and naturalistic Metaphors: a comparison using “like” or “as” that uses a familiar concept to represent, teach, and symbolize a new or less familiar idea Resilience: ability to recover from difficult experience—to bounce back. The human capacity to face, overcome, be strengthened by or transformed by the adversities of life



References Asbury, C. & Rich, B. (2008) Learning, Arts, and the Brain. The Dana Consortium Report on Arts and Cognition. New York: Dana Press. Fox, J. E. & Berry, S. (2007). Art in Early Childhood: Curriculum Connections. Early Childhood News. Retrieved from: earlychildhood/article_print.aspx?ArticleId=113 Galambos, C. (2001) “Healing Rituals for Survivors of Rape” Advances in Social Work. Vol 2. No. 1.(Spring). Imber-Black, E. & Roberts J. (1992) Rituals for our times. New York: Harper Collins. Jensen, E. (2007). Arts with the Brain in Mind. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. Mapp, I. & Koch, D. (2003) Webb, N. B (ed.) “Chapter 5: Creation of a Group Mural to Promote Healing Following a Mass Trauma”. Mass Trauma and Violence. New York: Guildford Press. McCarthy, J. (2004). Enacting Participatory Development: Theatre-based techniques. London: Earthscan. Mednick, F. (2006). Multiple Intelligences. The Connexions Project. Retrieved from: UNICEF (2004). Child Friendly Spaces/Environments: An integrated services response for emergencies and their aftermath. University of Pittsburg.

Inmber-Black & Roberts (1992) as cited in Galambos (2001) Child silhouettes courtesy of Jensen (2001) Mednick (2007) Digestive system image adapted from Lynn Farrow brought this art experience to the BuildaBridge Institute as part of her activities on art-integrated spiritual and character develo Lynn is a licensed counselor a visual artist living and working in Pasadena California. Adapted from McArthy (2004)

Mapp, I. & Koch, D. (2003)


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