Handbook Overview

Book One: Healing Young Hearts Through Communication
Puppets, Character Building Stories, Drawing and Discussion

Children need to be able to discuss and express their fears, worries, hopes and dreams. Teachers can use the materials and activity suggestions in this handbook to facilitate active classroom communication. Children are magically drawn to puppets, and will often relate and interact with them more easily than with adults. They also love stories, and during a time when their world has been turned upside down, their young minds desperately need to hear tales that engender hope, love and personal triumph. Puppets and storytelling can be used to reach out to children who have been affected by disaster, both to comfort them as well as to encourage them to communicate.

Drawing is a nonverbal means of communication that allows children to express their feelings and work through conflict. This section provides lesson plan ideas, worksheets, stories, and tips for guiding children through activities that promote healthy communication skills

A section for teenagers has been included detailing ways to use discussion circles in classroom settings to help teenagers recognize the positive and negative coping skills they employ in their reactions to stress. Examples of discussion circle topics, dialogues, and activities to use when leading group discussion is provided. Additionally, get-to-know-you style “icebreaker” questions, and worksheet activities designed to help young people identify and express emotions, are included.

Book Two: Healing Young Hearts Through Music
Chasing Away the Shadows of Trauma with Music

Music is a medicine for broken hearts, a magic that heals wounded spirits. Therapeutic musical activities provide a healing emotional release for children haunted by the shadows of disaster. Untreated trauma can develop into problems that affect the way children interact and relate with others, affecting their performance in school, as well as their physical and mental health. Creative outlets involving musical activities can lift the effects of trauma. Often children and adults have no words to describe their pain, but the pure emotional release of participating in a creative art can aid in healing.

This section explains the principles of musical therapy, and guides teachers in conducting activities such as making simple musical instruments, using music to express emotion, ideas for musical games, combining story-telling and puppet activities with music, and teaching children self-soothing techniques.

Book Three: Healing Young Hearts Through Play
Games for Children in Disaster Recovery

Games can teach and heal. Learning to play again after a disaster is a vital part of recovery for young people, and it is one of the easiest therapies in the world to implement. Games provide an outlet for emotions in a playful way, in a safe environment. Unhappy individuals often lack the ability to identify and express emotion. Failure to successfully communicate emotional needs and interact with others in meaningful ways is often a root cause of depression.

This section provides detailed instructions for indoor and outdoor games for both large and small groups. Examples of guided discussions for use in games can help children work through issues such as overcoming fear, self control and anger management, hope for the future, bonding and making new friends, perseverance, and team-working.

Book Four: Healing For Teachers and Volunteers
The Effects of Stress and the Need for Self-care

This section is dedicated to helping teachers and volunteers understand their own needs after a disaster in both the initial and long-term recovery phases. It briefly outlines reactions to traumatic stress, and the importance of emotional and physical self-care for those working in disaster areas.

As you provide the children with opportunities to participate in comforting, uplifting activities, you will create a haven in your classroom and the healing process will begin.

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