The Spiritual Care of Children

An example of Rach’s hands activity

Rachel Burnell, our Youth and Children’s Team Leader, recently wrote an article for the newsletter of the “Centre for Paediatric Spiritual Care.” She’s kindly agreed for us to reproduce the article here.

As COVID-19 has had such a huge impact on young people both emotionally and physically, I have started to create a pack of simple teaching resources based on art therapy ideas which are often used to help young people through trauma and grief. Emotional and mental well-being is a topic that will be high on the radar for many schools this term after many months in lockdown, where young people would have been in a range of challenging home situations.

As a foster carer, church youth worker and RSE educator for schools, I have encountered many young people who prefer to express their emotions in a more creative way as it helps them to open up without pressure to talk formally. This activity is a simple one and requires the young person to draw their hands and to reflect on past and future experiences, which can be beneficial in a time of transition such as the one we are currently experiencing. Over the past few months life may have changed significantly for them, but despite this it is important to envision what dreams the future still holds and to acknowledge that change can be positive. These things can be drawn into the hands on the paper. The charity I work for, Crossway, works with not just schools, but also with counselling women through unplanned pregnancy and pregnancy loss, as well as working with women in Bronzefield Prison using art to boost their self-esteem. Since becoming a foster carer, it has become apparent to me that so much work needs to be done early on in life to help young people to know their identity and self-worth.

Rachel Burnell