Values and social competencies are essential to a person’s success in their personal and professional lives. For this reason, SKIP focuses on providing quality education to prepare children for their futures and offers psychology workshops to all children attending the primary education program. The workshops started at the end of 2015 and topics were chosen based on the needs of the identified service users. The first set of workshops introduced topics regarding communication skills, self-awareness and identifying emotions, as well as anger management and impulse control. During the second set of workshops held as part of Holiday Club (the programme we run during the school summer holidays), SKIP offered intensive courses with two topics per week which addressed teamwork, empathy and anti-bullying training, enhancing active listening skills and encouraging peaceful conflict resolution.
The third set of trainings are running for 6 weeks during June and July. This time, Elizabeth Burnett, who is earning her Masters in Social Work at Miami University in Ohio, and serves as a Social Work volunteer at SKIP, joined Hanna Voelkl, SKIP’s Social work, Psychology and International Development Course (SWIDP) Facilitator, in the planning and implementation of the workshops. In constant communication and collaborating with SKIP staff members of the Social Work and Psychology Programmes, the quality work to the children has been ensured.
The topics chosen for the current workshops are self-esteem, social responsibility, gender roles and equality, as well as a second anti-bullying training, as bullying is a continuous recurring challenge worldwide for children of all ages. These workshops have been implemented based on the principle of learning by doing and playing and using interactive methods like games, creative arts, videos, storytelling and role play. With the use of these methods, the children have been able to absorb and use the acquired knowledge and also had fun!
There have been several highlights thus far during trainings but one in particular was during the self-esteem workshops. By using crafts and art, children created trees, flowers, and shields of arms which included drawings or kind words in regards to themselves, encouraging them to recognize their personal qualities, talents and skills sets they all individually carry. At the end of each self-esteem workshop students lined up one by one. Elizabeth had a blanket over a mirror and said, “there is something very special and beautiful beneath this blanket”. The students would inquire with curiosity about what was underneath this blanket. As the children patiently waited to see what was underneath the blanket, they soon realized, as the blanket was being pulled up, that special “something” or “someone” that was being referred to was themselves. When Elizabeth saw the children looking at themselves in the mirror she would say the word “You! That special person is YOU”! Each child, no matter how young or how old, was able to receive this message with a large smile upon their face. To say the least, it was a success and very inspiring!
~ Elizabeth Burnett and Hanna Voelkl