For the first months of 2021, Impande’s helpdesk and field workers focused on providing ECD stimulus support to Centres. In April, the monthly Learning Groups started again for the first time since November 2020. Knowing the toll that the pandemic has had on ECD practitioners and children, it was decided that the focus for Term 1 would be psychosocial support.
Our team facilitated a space for practitioners to share about their emotional wellbeing. Using the ‘Emotion Tree Image’ as a starting point, participants were able to identify and express their current feelings and state of mind. Some practitioners were referred for further counselling. The topics that came to the surface – grief, trauma and violence – stretch far beyond the pandemic. The emotions that this process brought up highlight the need to support practitioners so they in turn can support children. During the second session practitioners were provided with a psychosocial support pack for the classroom with books, posters and activities.
“We were grateful for the opportunity to talk in a platform that had no judgement. Many of us were carrying a lot of burdens which were released in the group. We have never in our lives found this sort of help that is about us and how we are doing. It made us feel special.”
The resources and activities provided for practitioners include:
- A Covid booklet designed as a story about the Coronavirus.
- Posters to teach about emotions and coping skills.
- 2 Bookdash books to build resilience and introduce the topic of death.
In addition to these resources, we also provided follow on activities based on the two books. One story is about rebuilding a village after a storm and the second is about the circle of life. The children are encouraged to act out the story and role play being the storm. They also build a “monster” from waste materials and then destroy it. These types of activities often prove therapeutic when done in a safe space.
“The most loved activity is UTHINGO. Children end up fighting to be the storm, but we get them to take turns.”
A special Thank you to our partners who supported this project: Solon Foundation, Impande Norway and Innovation Edge.