Gníomhaíocht a chabhríonn le páistí imníocha // Activity to help anxious children

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Tá cuma ar rudaí go bhfuil níos mó agus níos mó páistí inár seomraí ranga atá ag deileáil le himní agus go bhfuil sé ag cur isteach ar a gcuid forbartha go sóisialta agus go hacadúil. Is gníomhaíocht liteartha agus ealaíne é seo gur féidir le páistí áirithe a úsáid mar stráitéis agus a bheadh go deas do pháistí eile chomh, fiú nuair nach bhfuil fadhb áirithe imní acu. It seems it is becoming more and more common that children in our classrooms are suffering from anxiety and are finding that it is affecting their development, both social and academic. This is both a literacy and visual arts activity which can be a real and useful coping strategy for certain children, and may be comforting even to those children for whom anxiety is not a specific issue.

Tháinig mé, sa chéad áit, ar an smaoineamh seo ar The Art Curator for Kids (blag iontach don ealaín a mholfainn go mór ) agus shíl mé go mbeadh sé deas ár leagan de a roinnt libh. I originally came across this activity on The Art Curator for Kids (a great visual arts blog which you should definitely follow ) and thought I’d share our version of it with you.

Múinim páistí atá 11-12 bliain d’aois agus mar sin, thosaigh muid le plé ranga ar an imní – céard é imní, cén bealach a mhothaíonn sé a bheith imníoch agus na rudaí éagsúla go mbíon daoine imníoch faoi. Bhí smaointe léargasach acu.  The children I teach are 11-12 years old and so we began by having a whole class discussion on worry – what it means to be worried, what it feels like to be worried and what kinds of things people sometimes worry about. Their thoughts on the subject were very insightful.

Ansin, léigh muid le chéile an leabhar atá sa phictiúr thuas – Silly Billy le Anthony Browne. Dar liom féin, ní teideal oiriúnach atá ar an leabhar agus ní bheinn ag iarraidh a rá le páistí go bhfuil sé ‘silly’ a bheith buartha, ach seachas sin, is scéal álainn é.  Insíonn sé do na páistí faoi na Bábóg Imní a thagann as Guatamala, atá in úsáid ar fud Mheirceá Theas le blianta fada. Mar a tharlaíonn, tá seit dóibh agam féin a fuair mé nuair a bhí mé ag taisteal i Méirceá Theas agus thaispeáin mé dóibh iad sin chomh maith. An smaoineamh atá ann ná go mbíonn tú ag insint do na bábóga aon rud atá ag cur buairt ort roimh dul a luí agus cuireann tú faoi do philliúr iad. Tugann na bábóga aire don buairt ar fad fad is a chodlaíonn tú go sámh. We then read together the book pictured above – Silly Billy by Anthony Browne. The title is badly chosen, in my opinion, as I disagree with telling children that it’s ‘silly’ to worry but other than that, the story is lovely. It tells the children about Guatemalan Worry Dolls, which have been used in South America for many years. As it happens, I have my own set which I got a number of years ago while travelling in South and Central America, so I showed these to the children too. The idea of the dolls is that you tell your worries to them before going to bed and then put the dolls under your pillow. The dolls then do the worrying for you and let you sleep soundly.

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Cheap na páistí gur smaoineamh iontach a bhí ann agus ansin, mar a dhéanann Billy sa scéal, rinneamar ár mbábóga imní féin. Tharraing siad carachtair beaga – thart timpeall ar 4cm an cheann. Chuir siad dath orthu, lánaigh siad iad agus ghearr siad amach iad. Ansin thug mé clúdach litreach daite do gach páiste agus thóg siad abhaile leo a gcuid mbábóg. Ó shin, tá páistí agus tuismitheoirí i ndiaidh  teacht chugam le rá gur smaoineamh an-dearfach agus an-chabhrach a bhí ann. Mholfainn go mór an ghníomhaíocht seo. They thought it was a great idea and then, as Billy does in the story, we decided to make our own worry dolls. They each drew a number of small charachters – approximately 4cm tall each. They coloured them, laminated them and cut them out. Then each child put their worry dolls in a coloured envelope and took them home. I’ve had both children and parents come to me to say that they really like the idea and that it’s very helpful. I would definitely recommend this activity.

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