Monday, November 11, 2013

I Am Special ~ Creative program in English at Riffle Rage Community Hall, Penang

I am special because I am a man whose name is Andrew....

Today is the first day since I left my job in Agape Counselling Centre Malaysia (Penang branch) officially. Despite the fact that some may worry about my income, I decide to give myself some time off the "doing" aka finding job after losing one, and follow my mentor and a play therapist, Priscilla Ho in some of her projects.

Here we were, Dewan Serba Guna Taman Padang Tembak.

Thanks to the invitation of miss Fatimah Hassan from Penang Education Council, Priscilla and her team will execute a creative program in English which lasts for 8 weeks starting 9th Nov 2013.

We began our first session, "I Am Special" at 0830 hours (GMT +8) by forming a big circle which was consisted of 27 children from this neighborhood and sang the "Big Circle, Small Circle" song (led by Lucy).

While they started to have fun with this physical movement activity, I believed this helped the group to stay focus by moving backward and forward, and build group cohesion among group members.

Next, we asked each group members to introduce themselves by associating their names with an action. At first the children were reluctant to do this, but after some encouragement (and I think some of them were ready), we all have an interesting way of knowing each other.

We tried a sensory activity by asking everyone to act an animal based on group leader (Andrew)'s instruction. Instead of standing still at original position, we moved around the hall with various animal movement while freezing ourselves whenever Priscilla shouted, "Stop!"

Tiger? Roooaaaarrrr........!

Before we set our group rules, we tried to grasp some breath after the sensory activity and we drew our mosaic art on a piece of mahjong paper which was folded into 64 squares. We had 4 teams so we will have 4 big pieces of mosaic art.

After 15 minutes, the children were coming back together and form group rules for themselves. No bodoh (stupid in Malay), stupid, respect others, listen while other member is talking....They wrote their own ground rules!

"I am special. Why are you so?", Priscilla never stop asking this question whenever she introduced her therapeutic book which bore the title, "I Am Special".

Identity is the key of developing confidence, which will ultimately leads to resiliency or the ability of an individual to recover from failure or challenge. Each one of us should know this clearly and be able to stand up and tell others how special we are, not to win others' compliment or any other reason but simply because we know who we are!

For the next 30 minutes, we scribbled!

Illustration, without interpretation, is an unique piece with its own beauty. Of course, with confidence, we can tell others how special we are, simply because we are who we are, our own identities. In the next round of identity exercise, the children were asked to come to the center of the group and show their portraits before laying it on the floor.

Coming together, being together.

One of the aims of this program, was to enable children to "listen, speak, read and write" English. For the reading part, each child was given a copy of Si Comel & her kittens and they read together in their respective groups. I was amazed by some of the children who could read very well.

After they finished the reading, each group was given a piece of mahjong paper which was triple-folded so that they could create and write their own story. Who knows we might have another story book in store for everyone?

Enough for the writing and drawing, we ended our first session which lasted for 5 hours with the infamous "Chiecken Dance" song and moves......"Blink blink blink blink, flap flap flap flap, shake shake shake shake....."

After this, we departed goodbye with the children and looking forward for our next session on 16th Nov 2013.

After went through this session, I had another lesson of mindfulness. Why I was unable to connect with my group members as a facilitator? Was I overconscientious about Priscilla demand? Hmm...

Anyway, if you found this kind of program is interesting and you would like to know more about us, kindly browse our Facebook page.

Cr8Tvt@Heart is a non-profit centre that acknowledges young people who often encounter emotional, psychological and social difficulties because of challenging situations they may find themselves in. The creative programs help to unleash the creativity within and empower young people to build their resilience (Ho & Ho, 2011)

Ho, S. B., & Ho, P. (2011). I am special. Penang: Creativity At Heart.

p/s: All photos in this blog were credited to Creativity at Heart.

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