Perse Head of Art designs new story books to help children express their emotions
15 Jan 2020
An innovative and creative new resource aimed at helping children to express their emotions has been designed by Perse Head of Art, Anne Cunningham.
Therapeutic Story StartUps is a range of resources encouraging children to explore their feelings using illustrated scenes and characters.
Anne worked together with child psychotherapists Angela Amos and Aileen Webber, who recognised the need to develop more resources to help children in their therapy sessions. The resources address the themes of loss, anger, self-esteem, bullying, worries and family break-up in a way that encourages children to better understand how they are feeling.
Anne said: “The characters, props and scenes within these resources encourage children to come up with their own ending to the stories. It gives the children control of the story as they work out what the different characters might do. There is no right or wrong ending, so every child feels empowered along with a sense growing confidence to help resolve their own issues.”
“I started working on the illustrations nine years ago so this has been a real labour of love for me. I have a background in children’s textile design, so I was keen to develop my skills and work on children’s illustration. As a mother and a teacher I am passionate about child wellbeing and mental health, so this was the perfect combination of many interests for me.”
“When children are able to use storytelling and play to express themselves, it can really help to identify how they are feeling, which young children cannot always do, especially when they are dealing with complex emotions and very difficult situations. These resources will help primary school aged children, but I’m keen to expand this and work on resources for older children in the future.”
The resource pack which can be used by therapists and primary school teachers includes six illustrated story books, 30 colourful free-standing characters, six background scenes, props, mood cards, story souvenirs and online guidelines for how to best use the resources.
Therapeutic Story StartUps is published by Routledge Education. Anne Cunningham. Angela Amos and Aileen Webber are holding a drop-in event at Cambridge Central Library on Saturday 1 February from 11am – 5pm for anyone interested in finding out more.
You can access Therapeutic Story StartUps from Amazon, Waterstones and Routledge Education.