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The Role of Schools During A Crisis

A study done in New Zealand attempted to help children reframe their experiences after New Zealand earthquakes through active engagement in artistic work. Three schools participated and in “one school, children, families, teachers and the principal all contributed to an illustrated book of their experiences. In another school, children created a series of mosaic panels to record the community’s story before, during, and after the earthquakes. In the third school, children became documentary makers and interviewed other children about their earthquake experiences” (Mutch & Gawith, p. 54, 2014). It is important to note that researchers in this study were not setting out to be art therapists but simply providing a place for emotional processing of events, which helped them gain perspective and distance themselves from the event. This study reiterates that schools have a responsibility to provide processing and interventions post a traumatic event or disaster. However, it also shows how creativity and artistic methods helped students improve their state of being after the earthquakes. Thus, intriguing further research in the area of Art Therapy for trauma symptoms in children. Treatment plans based on Art Therapy and Mindfulness could be designed to be implemented by educators without training in mental health services as this seems to be the need in schools.

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