Self-Empowerment and Arts Program

This program is about children (aged 6-10) expressing themselves through art, nature exploration, wellbeing circles, self-empowerment conversations and team building fun, while learning tools to feel grounded and balanced with Arts Therapist and Educator, Brony Marshall. This is followed by an hour of voice work and rhythm with Music Teacher and Therapist, Bonnie Nilsson.


Here are snippets taken from the first 5 weeks in Term 1:

Our first day was filled with connecting, sharing and exploring. We grounded into our new space, moved our bodies to music and shared our interests.  We talked about self-expression … how do we express ourselves? We can express through art, music, dance, our voice, our clothes, the way we move our body, our interests, our faces... just to name a few! We are always expressing.


 Morning check in (from week 4):

Our morning grounding led us into a movement warmup and our circle 'check in'.  We are becoming more confident in sharing how we are feeling, any news and challenges we may be experiencing. Some of us came to Alithia feeling excited, some of us tired, hungry and some of us relaxed. We are embracing and respecting all the feelings, emotions and needs that we have!


Art session (samples from week 1-5): 

We have been experimenting with different ways to express through art on our watercolour based paper and with water paints. Today we went exploring nature to be inspired by things to add to our art pieces. Some of us drew plants, some us drew animals, patterns and various shapes that we found both within nature and also man-made items. One of us asked why is it called 'man-made'? ...why isn't it called 'human made' or 'woman made' or 'person made' which brought up a great discussion.



Today we explored with acrylic paints. We needed to mix our own colours, we played with light and dark tones and inspired others with our ideas.

We added our last layers to our SELF- EXPRESSION paintings. Over the last few weeks we have been exploring different ways to express using paint and drawing tools... detaching from what our 'picture needs to look like'.  We explored our natural surroundings to add some layers to our images, then used acrylic paint to change or add to our art.


Nature Exploration (samples from week 1-5):

The children have been excited to explore the Botanic Gardens each week: The Rare and Endangered section of the gardens, seeing plants from all over Australia, the Sensory Garden, The Japanese Bridge, the mangroves, moss, brush turkeys, Gumbaynggirr signs, tree species. We had lots of discussions around culture and country, seeing plants and spaces from different parts of the world.


It was a perfect opportunity to look at map reading, directions and take turns in determining which path to take. Some of us wanted to be ‘sign readers’, others ‘map interpreters’,  and some of us were on a mission to find the ‘perfect walking stick’.


Along the way we saw lots of amazing animals, structures and read about the local Gumbaynggirr culture. We learnt about trees that were native to Australia and trees that were native to places like Japan, China, South America and India. We were excited to think that our walk allowed us to journey to all parts of the globe!

We got busy with nature art where we worked together to create images and shapes from our surroundings.


We were introduced to the idea of a 'Sit Spot'. Sometimes sitting in a spot on our own and observing something specific can be a powerful thing. Not only does it slow us down to the present moment, but sometimes we observe things that otherwise would go unnoticed. The idea was put forward to find a tree, plant, animal, puddle or object.... sit near it, observe it to see what we notice. How would it feel to be this creature or object? How would they see the world? Would they feel? Do they have the same senses as us? What do we feel or think when we are observing this item? What happens to the puddle when it dries up? We were invited to draw or write about our experience and then share it with each other. WOW! We were blown away with the experiences we all shared, the varied choices in items and how it made us all feel!


Wellbeing session (samples from week 1-5):

We were introduced to a circle space where we can share our thoughts, ideas or challenges. It was powerful to see the children recognising their needs and ability to express them to others! We all joined in for some team building activities, getting to know each other through our interests and fun facts!


Relaxation allowed us to discover our individual 'magical place' which we can visit anytime we like. This is filled with all the things that we love and make us feel good. We can access our strengths and super powers here too. We loved sharing what we saw, some of us had tree houses, tower, castles and cabins.... with everything from healing powers to being able to save the world.


During circle sharing we talked about our self-talk around what we 'can' and 'can't' do. We talked about how riding a bike takes practise, just like lots of other things. Our conversation and experiences flowed, with support and advice for each other around how to improve our skills when doing things/ hobbies we like.


How do we talk to ourselves? What thoughts do we have? We looked at images from Dr Masaru Emoto's water crystal experiments (some of us did his rice experiments last year). When water is exposed to positive vs negative/ intense words the cell structure can change (which can be observed with frozen water). We are made up with around 70% water.... what kind of 'crystals' are we creating in our bodies?? If we have two plants.... give them the same water/ sun and dirt but one we give loving words and exchanges to, the other we say things like "I hate you, don't grow".... would there be a difference between the growth and health of the two plants?


We created notes/ pictures to give to each other. Something that would make the person receiving it feel a positive emotion….. happy, joy, relaxed! Everyone loved spending time creating something special for us to open and look at either when we got home or over the holidays when we wanted to smile!

We are starting to build stronger relationships and deepen our awareness of how to express our own needs, and how to support the needs and desires of each other.


We would like to thank all those who support the hub, so that we can continue making a difference in our rural low socio-economic area. Especially those that joined the live crowd-funding event held by TFN (The Funding Network).


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About Us

Alithia Learning runs a range of child-led programs designed for 5 to 12 year-olds. The defining characteristics of our programs are positive communication and freedom to learn.

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