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Space to Create – wellbeing programmes in Primary Schools

Space to Create is a programme of three 8-week after-school programmes in primary schools focused on creativity and wellbeing. This first year’s programme has been funded by NHS Hastings and Rother CCG Reducing Health Inequalities funding.

The programme builds on the success of our Telling Your Story programme, now running for the third year in Secondary schools. It aims to provide a safe and creative space where children and young people can develop confidence, self-esteem and resilience through a creative approach to wellbeing.

The sessions are led by 2 artists who develop a varied programme of activity that responds to children’s interests. Each child has the opportunity to complete their Discover Arts Award and links are made with parents and carers through a sharing session at the end. We work closely with schools to select children that will benefit most from the programme.

Objectives
• Develop creative skills and identify how these support broader wellbeing
• Increased confidence self esteem
• Better coping strategies and resilience
• Feel more connected

Who was involved
Artists: Ed Boxall, Bec Garland and Janey Moffatt
Schools: St Leonards CE Primary Academy, Baird Primary Academy and Churchwood Primary Academy

Activities
Sessions typically involve a creative activity each week, time to share and explore issues children might be facing, refreshments and when possible some time outdoors. Activities have been varied across the three programmes and have included painting, sculpture, sketchbooks and journals, looking at artists’ work, clay work, mask making, printmaking, creative writing and music.

Outcomes

Creativity
Children have loved the creative activities. They have had the chance to get stuck into something and achieve results. Children have been able to say things through the creative activities that they may not have had the confidence to say in words.

Confidence
The process of making work and taking time to share with their peers, has helped build confidence as children have paid compliments and appreciated each other’s work. The pride and sense of achievement in making things has been evident.

My confidence has gone from 0-100%

Child, Baird Primary Academy

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Coping/resilience
Children have welcomed the opportunity to share problems in the group. Discussions have explored managing bullying, to feeling different, issues within friendships, parental break ups. Children that have had problems engaging in the classroom have proved much more settled as a result of the programme. For boys, in particular, the opportunity to say how they feel has been one of the most significant outcomes of the programme.

I have learnt how to express my feelings.

Child, St Leonards CE Primary

Feeling connected
Children that might be struggling in school have had time and space to connect with others, offer support and build friendships.

I have learnt that I can be creative and not such a bad drawer and I actually have friends.

Child, Baird Primary Academy

Asked to what extent the creative programme helped them, 53% of children across the first 2 schools gave the programme 10/10 and 40% 8/10.

This programme fills the cracks between school and home for our children… [it] has provided opportunities for children to play and find their inner child.

Teacher

This programme has been funded by the Hastings and Rother CCG Reducing Health Inequalities Fund.