Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Music introduced Burmese children's group

Music and movement are now incorporated into the Burmese refugee children's group creating a multidisciplinary art environment.  Lead Creative Arts therapist Natalie Hoffmann has a degree in Fine Arts - Painting and a Master's in Creative Arts Therapy.  Since the group started, children have engaged in various visual art-making experiences ranging from painting, collage-making and mapping activities.  Natalie found that the children were very quiet, shy and language differences seemed a barrier to their sharing of artwork. 

Artist-on-Call Liz Green joined the teaching team in September 2013 and has since incorporated chants and simple songs to assist the children in their transitions between art-making experiences. Children responded very well to this addition; the added structure to the transitions made them feel less chaotic and more ritualized.  Bethany Stiltner joined the team in April as the Assistant Creative Arts Therapist.  Bethany brings percussion instruments to each group for a music circle which is now a part of the welcoming ritual, a key aspect of the BuildaBridge Classroom Model.  Natalie has incorporated a movement/feeling circle as another element to the opening ritual activities where children express how they are feeling that day through a movement.  Natalie tracks the words and movements each child does each week as part of her assessment process. The creative talents each artist has now incorporated into the group has spurred the further development of children's individual creative expression.  This is why the BuildaBridge Classroom Model that includes a team-teaching approach with artists from various disciplines within a structured environment full of rituals helps refugee children find their identity in a new culture.