Kidz Space at Bonnie’s is a place where kids can come to share and learn about themselves in a safe environment. It’s for kids aged 7-11 who have witnessed domestic violence but haven’t had a chance to speak about it. Kidz Space gives them the chance to do this, diving in and reflecting on what’s going on internally.
Last term we had an all boy group attend the sessions. I went into it thinking our time together will run shorter because the boys will not want to talk. Some of the boys that were a part of the group were a little bit older from the kids we had worked with previously and I thought they would not want to participate in some of the activities.
I couldn’t have been more wrong.
We always start the group asking the kids to speak about an emotion they have felt during the week, using emotional learning cards to prompt them. This gets us into the mood and emotions start flowing. Near the end of our time together, we talk about a negative and positive feeling each one of us has felt. Everyone is asked to take part including the facilitators, helping kids to normalise talking about their thoughts and feelings.
In this particular group, the boys that were older seemed to get the most out of the experience. They felt comfortable sharing what they had seen and heard at home, and it was wonderful to see how honest they were about their home life. In one of the activities, we asked what they were most proud of about themselves; one of the boys said ‘learning, talking about stuff I didn’t want to talk about, feeling comfortable’, while another said ‘expressing feelings, drawing, smarter, getting things off my chest and more creative”.
I left the group feeling incredibly proud of each boy that had taken part. They had felt safe in the group, had opened up and were able to learn and grow from the experience and hopefully in the future, be better for it.
I also learnt a lesson: not to judge by a book’s cover.