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Elle’s Story

Elle was a young participant from The Art Group, a project run in conjunction with Barnardo’s

“My name is [Elle] and I wanted to make a dolphin for dolphin class. It’s pretty shiny … and I’ve made it look into a dolphin instead of a whale. I like art because you get to do mucky stuff and it just makes your hands all dirty. It was really fun because well with the clay you could do anything you wanted because your fingers got all gooey. I felt really really really really really excited when I finished my dolphin because it was shiny because I painted it with seven or eight layers. It’s really good. It’s fantastic and I’ve got to keep it safe.”

Barnardo’s Support Worker on the project and Elle:

“Barnardo’s Art Group is for children who have got big feelings. It was originally set up for children who had been affected by domestic violence and they nearly always have big feelings because it affects them emotionally.

Over the years we tended to open it up a bit more to children who have big feelings about other things as well. It might be that they’ve got dyslexia and they get frustrated and angry easily and therefore often have difficult relationships within the family, or find it hard to make friends. That’s basically what the group is for: children who have got big feelings. And it seems to be that the combination of art, the fact that it’s a maximum usually of ten children and it’s very well supported by adults who have got a lot of understanding of children and are quite used to children showing their feelings in anger and various forms of anger, either hitting out or tantrums or bursting into tears. We all see it as an opportunity for them to say or talk about their feelings.

[Elle] is a seven year old girl who has been connected with our family centre or children centre since she was a tiny baby. So we know her and her family really well but in the last art group she made a particularly beautiful pottery dolphin. It was quite a long process and they needed to use a lot of patience. Every week they would want to take it home and we would have to say no lets leave it another week and she has been incredibly proud of it. In the last week we invite parents and teachers along to come along and view their work. Two of [Elle’s] teachers came along and were really pleased with it and she now displays the dolphin at school on what they call the Chance Box. She has had a lot of input, a lot of praise from different sources on her dolphin and she is incredibly proud of it.”

Please note that names and locations have been changed to protect participant’s privacy.

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