Aine has been teaching drama and creative arts to young people with complex needs or additional support needs for 21 years. Her focus is on using creativity to help young people understand emotions and relationships and also foster empathy and a wider understanding of the world. Using drama techniques allows the young people to explore feelings and situations without getting caught up in their emotions as the ‘story’ is the safety net. Even though the emotions are real, they are within the context of drama, creating a safe distance for the young people to really engage. This work allows a natural link and crossover to Mindfulness.
In conjunction with Stan, Aine has helped to develop a model of Mindfulness which is now embedded into the curriculum to underpin the health and wellbeing of all pupils. A range of activities taking inspiration from visualisation/meditation techniques, Tai Chi, yoga, QI Gong have been developed and tried and tested so that each pupil follows an individual programme tailored to their needs including those with complex needs, autism, behavioural issues, anxiety and life-limiting conditions. The results have been overwhelmingly positive for pupils, parents and staff.