Thanks to Jane, our Head of Children’s Services for this post
A report by The Children’s Society in 2012 identified six priorities for children’s wellbeing, including a need for a “positive view of themselves and an identity that is respected”. This in turn helps children to have high expectations of themselves, a goal shared by Body & Soul.
At the end of 2014, programmes at Body & Soul looked at ‘Identity’. A group of older children attending the Children’s Centre at Body & Soul were targeted to participate in an activity designed to give them a positive view of themselves and therefore raise their expectations of themselves.
The children in the group are bright and articulate but struggle with low self-esteem and some parents have reported that they are under-achieving in school. Over a four week period, the children looked at how they perceived themselves through a range of art and role play activities. At the beginning of the project, they introduced themselves to the group by saying the three words or phrases that they felt people best described them.
There were some positives; but each child gave more words with negative associations than positive. Over the next two weeks they looked back at any words they wanted to change and thought about how they would do that. The children were also encouraged to think about how other people’s impressions of them differed from how they saw themselves.
The project culminated in the composition of a group poem about the children’s strengths and a performance to the rest of the Children’s Centre.