Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Connection Mural

With the summer months upon us, school is wrapping up.  As a therapist, I have offered therapeutic services in school settings with grades kindergarten through eighth.  Given the nature of training programs, often times a graduate student will enter into a school in September, build relationships over the year, and then move on to a totally new location and training site the following year.  One of my favorite ways to conclude services with children is to make what I like to call the “Connection Mural.”  The kids may come up with their own name for it, but essentially, it is a great way to work together on something the child can take home with them at the conclusion of their last session. 
What you need:
  • Blank paper  (Depending on the amount of time you have or the age of the child, you can make it as big or small as you see fit. 8 ½ x 11 paper or poster board)
  • Crayons, colored pencils, markers
  • Any other art supplies you want (glitter glue, magazine cutouts, etc)
  • Allow the child to outline your hand, and then outline theirs, so that the fingers cross on the paper
  • Each of you can decorate the inside of your hands
  • On the outside of the hands write inspirational words or phases; topics you spoke about throughout the year; goals or hopes for the future
  • Sign your names (like the artists that you are) and date it!
  • Encourage your child to hang their mural in a place where they will see it daily and be able to remember all the things you spoke about throughout the year.  This is your opportunity to show them that despite the end of your therapeutic relationship, they are still important and should feel inspired.
Each mural will be unique and beautiful in different ways.  Make sure that if you share the work with anyone outside the therapy room, you will need to attain permission from their parents. 
This project would be wonderful for teachers to use at the end of the year as well!  This is an awesome way for the kids to remain connected to their teacher or therapist; and also a way to feel motivated and cared for.  I find that this is a great tool for grades kindergarten through eighth.
*The picture is just an example and not the work of an actual client.  The creativity of the murals I have done in session have been absolutely amazing!  They turn into real works of art.  Have fun with this one, while knowing it will mean a lot to the child. 

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