Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Sandtray with Quaker kids

Hi, folks. I just figured out how to post a blog. You have to be signed in first! Fancy that....

I wanted you to know about the very fun hour I spent with 9elementary aged children in the Quaker meeting, ranging from 5 years to 10 years. I had only an hour, so knew it was going to be just a taste of sandtray for them. I borrowed a tray, took two of my own, had spent weeks asking the adults of the meeting to donate small items (I gave them a list) and took some of my own, along with a great deal of sand and ten small plastic salad bowls in the shape of lotuses. There was one other adult in the room with me.

I demonstrated how to witness building while one of the children played, then had three children to each tray: one builder, one scribe/witness, and one to hold the builder "in the Light" (a Quaker practice). They were astounding! Very focused, very interested, very respectful of each other's play. Even the little ones were able to wait and take turns. Because not every child got to play in the big trays, for lack of time, I saved some of the time at the end for the children to each create a small tray that they could take home, and I talked with them about how they could change the tray from time to time when they had a problem to solve or had something on their minds, or wanted to celebrate a special event.... Again, astounding, beautiful, deep, incredible worlds emerged. Three boys especially stood out as being exceptionally open to the sand play, all brothers. One was very dynamic in the sand, and the other two were very focused and aware of the significance of their work.

After the time, while I was cleaning up, the dad of these three boys came and helped me sweep and carry the heavy stuff out to my car. He was exceptionally considerate, and I was very thankful. Later the woman who assisted me, and who coordinates the "First Day School" program, told me that his three boys had been real hellions in the program and that the teachers had met that morning to discuss what to do about them. Unbeknownst to me, they had all been sneaking out of their own classes to watch the children work in the sand, and were amazed at what could be accomplished with these very "difficult" children! In fact, I had considered them my "star" pupils because they had each gotten so much from the worlds they built.

I have pictures that I will post at a later time, but wanted you to hear this story about the power of sandtray outside of a therapeutic setting. Lots of love, Merry


Theresa Fraser said...

MERRY , your story touched my heart. I would love to see others have access to it.. have you thought about writing an article and getting consents from the kid's family's so you can add photos. T

Rita (aka Lizard) said...

Merry, thanks so much for sharing... I hope you will post pictures (now that you have figured out the password thing!) What a great opportunity for you to share this work.