Children’s emotional wellbeing initiative launched

| 26/06/2019
CNS Local Life
Dr Erica Lam

(CNS Local Life): The Alex Panton Foundation (APF) has introduced a free social-emotional wellbeing programme for children in Cayman, explaining the initiative at an information session held 17 June for teachers, community leaders, clinicians and representatives of the Department of Education. APF has joined forces with the UK-based Partnership for Children (PfC) to bring their programmes to Cayman, aimed at ages 5-7 and 7-9.

PfC is a non-profit organisation that creates school-based programmes for children to help them develop skills to communicate effectively, cope with anxieties and difficulties, and foster their mental health, stated an APF press release.

Two of their key programmes, Zippy’s Friends (for ages 5-7) and Apple’s Friends (ages 7-9), will become available free of charge to interested schools and early education centres in Cayman through the foundation. Both are evidence-based social and emotional wellbeing programmes for children, which cover important topics such as feelings, communication, friendship, conflict, change and loss, and moving forward/coping skills.

Dr Erica Lam, APF clinical consultant and board member, noted, “It is easier to build healthy and resilient children for our future, than to repair broken adults.”

The emotional literacy programmes are being led by Dr Xenia Sotiriou-Goddard, a licensed therapist who is “passionate about child development and preventative strategies,” the release said. “These important programmes help children develop their own positive strategies to deal with problems through engaging activities, listening to stories, discussion, role-playing and drawing,” Sotiriou-Goddard explained.

“The APF is delighted to bring this to the Cayman Islands and we believe these tried and tested programmes from the UK will help make a positive impact on the social and emotional wellbeing of children here in Cayman,” added Lam.

Dr Catherine Day, licensed consultant clinical psychologist, who will be leading the Special Needs Education and Disability (SEND) pathway of the programmes, said, “Zippy’s Friends has been adapted with alternative and additional activities as well as the uses of visual aids and Widgit Symbols to make it accessible to all children – those with additional needs, with special educational needs, and with intellectual disabilities – to increase their emotional and social coping skills.”

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Category: Local News, Medical and Health

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