Following on our September theme we kept working with Mandalas in one of our recent session at Mosoj. A mandala is a symbol representing balance and unity. By offering this activity we want to create a safe environment where every child feels at ease, and supported to work on their own creations to express their feelings but also to collaborate and to support one another.
Closing on our Month of the Mandala the children were this time challenged to use clay to build our last Mandala. Clay is a material manipulated by hand enabling the kid to make a connection with the material. Scientific studies prove that the way one uses hands affects the brain by sending a variety of neurologic messages. Sian Beilock, professor of psychology, affirms that “using your hands can often help children process certain ideas and even respond quicker within a learning environment.” Therefore the use of clay in therapeutic sessions is very valuable, being a sensopathic tool. “Sensopathic play is a very real, concrete and experiential way to learn through personal experience.” We believe that a sensopathic tool furthers pushes one to dare interacting with the material, bridging the gap between one’s limits, fears and feelings.
The kids were enthusiastic about the exercise and with only a little bit of help from Mauri, Aleks and me, they immediately took the leading themselves. Two of the oldest girls in the house Anita and Esmeralda started to lay down 2 circles. After that, with help from Nico, Ana Gabriela and Jadiel, the inner circle shape was created forming that the basis of the mandala’s structure.
Without feeling the need to put words on it all the kids started to work on their own creation which was wonderful to see.
For example Elba made chocolates and discovered a way of making the clay flat by using a round pot and putting the clay in between plastic so it didn’t stick to the table. Then she started using small sticks to bring details and decorations to the clay.
Her brilliant technique quickly was discovered by the other kids and after that she started to explain her ‘self-discovery’ technique to the tree youngest ones in the house: Julia, Luz and Jhanet.
Without any support from us they started to help, supporting and teaching each other. Especially the older ones helped out the younger ones.
All the kids involved each other. They did not only take care of the clay mandala but also of each other; an action that proved the activity to naturally inspire a real interaction to create a Mandala in the name of all!
Through communication they inspired each other to make their own little decorations to put in the mandala. Such as flowers, triangles, hearts, fruits, stars, smileys, animals, rainbows and chocolates.
By working together to try and experiment with creating their own decorations, they supported each other to not be scared of expressing their ideas, but just to try and have confidence to do their own thing. Everything together created a save environment for each of them.
Collaborating creates connectivity. The structure of the mandala intervention offers safety. Which made that each child was able to feel truly free to do what he or she felt comfortable with. Creating the mandala is not only fun it also bond the group!