We recently finished up another spring Pre-K group at The WARM Place! In addition to our evening groups, The WARM Place provides an outlet for our youngest grievers twice a year, during the spring and fall. These 10-week sessions are specifically designed for children ages 3 ½ -5 years old that are grieving the death of a loved one.
One of the reasons that we offer a group for these ages is because at this time in their lives, children understand death and grief very concretely: death seems reversible, not permanent. Children ask questions like: “When will she be home?” “When can we go visit?” “I want to go be with him.” After all, you wait for someone to come home, and you go visit people you don’t see often. To grasp the concept of death and its consequences, children need to hear in a soft way that their loved one is not coming back, although we understand why they would like this to happen.
During the 10 weeks that Pre-K children meet, we provide a variety of activities to help them process their grief. Several of these activities are arts and crafts, as these are helpful outlets for grieving children. Children feel good while they are creating; art helps boost their self-confidence. Most importantly, unrestricted exploring with art helps children form connections in their brain. They are learning and having fun. Arts and crafts enable children to express their grief and communicate without having to use the right language. It helps them open up with others and express their thoughts and feelings. Let’s take a look at some of the activities we did this spring!
Art with Heart
This particular activity had a lot of heart! First, our volunteer facilitators led the children in identifying memories of their loved ones. They talked with them about how they could keep these memories in their heart. The children were given a piece of paper with a heart on it and were asked to draw, paint, and write about their loved one inside the picture of a heart.
Memory boxes make a great family activity! The children and their caregivers worked together to create a special memory box for photos, stories, or keepsakes of that reminded them of their loved ones. This is an activity the whole family can continue to use to help preserve memories.
Children spent time making beautiful butterflies in memory of their loved ones. They enjoyed putting together butterflies with tissue paper shapes and colors, sparkling bodies, and adding colorful antennas. As you can see these butterflies were works of art!
Take a look at the video above to see how much fun we had with these art projects this spring!
A Pre-K child’s sense of self and well-being depends on the presence of others. People help them feel safe and cared for. Our group is designed to provide a safe space for these children, so that they can feel comfortable sharing feelings about their grief. Our hope is that over the 10 weeks they come to The WARM Place, that they will begin the process of healing.