Children & Young People’s Program
Seasons for Growth is a small group loss and grief education program. The Children and Young People’s Program strengthens the social and emotional wellbeing of children and young people (aged 6 -18) who are dealing with significant loss or change. This may include the death of a loved one, parental divorce or separation, the experience and aftermath of natural disaster, moving house or school, as well as many other life changes and losses.
Small groups of 4-7 children work with a trained adult Companion (facilitator) who supports the children in learning new ways to share, think about and respond to the changes and losses in their lives. Children learn that they are not alone in dealing with the effects of change, loss and grief. They build their understanding and communication, decision making and problem solving skills as part of a supportive peer group.
The Seasons for Growth Children and Young People’s Program takes place over a structured eight week period filled with peer-to-peer learning opportunities - with time to talk and listen as well as take part in activities including drawing, music, art, journaling, roleplays and story telling. A celebration session and two follow up ‘reconnector’ sessions complete the program, and each session explores an age appropriate concept, for example “Change is a part of life” and “Caring for my feelings”. The story of the seasons is used to explain the cycles of life, including change and loss, and provides a valuable metaphor for children to explore and understand their own story.
The Seasons for Growth Children and Young People's Program has four levels;
- Level 1: 6-8 year olds
- Level 2: 9-10 year olds
- Level 3: 11-12 year olds
- Level 4: 13-18 year olds
Seasons for Growth was developed in 1996 by Anne Graham in collaboration with education, health and welfare professionals. It is recognised within the national mental health initiatives for children and young people - KidsMatter and MindMatters. Adults who facilitate the Seasons for Growth program have been endorsed by an agency, undertaken training and are accredited as Companions.
“I feel a lot better because I was letting all the pain out. Sometimes in school I'd feel like crying about it, and I nearly cried. Then I just held it in. But when I went to Seasons, I could just let it out, and talk about it. I didn't need to cry because I could talk about it" (Matt 9).
"Having other people with the same problem to talk to has really helped" (Antonio, 12).
"My life jas got worse but what Seasons for Growth has done is help me come to terms with it all. I cope a lot better. No matter how bad things get, I now have somebody I trust to talk to" (Emma 16).
"I'd like to think my son wasn't affected by the divorce but I know he was. The program has helpd him to know that it happens in others families too" (Parent).
"The Seasons for Growth training has helped me to realise the impact that change and loss can have on a child's behaviour at school" (Teacher).