For Children & Young People – Rainbows Ireland Group Based
The Rainbows Ireland service is an inclusive service, supporting children and young people experiencing grief and loss resulting from bereavement/parental separation/parental relationship breakdown /divorce. Attending the programme provides children with an opportunity to meet with other children of a similar age and loss experience.
A Rainbows Programme can offer the following support to a child/young person:
- Support a child to engage with their own individual grief– to identify, name, understand, express and share their feelings.
- Provide a safe setting to tell and retell feelings and thoughts with trained listeners.
- Support children to have a shared experience and identification with others’ feelings… “I’m not the only one”
- Acknowledge a child’s grief and loss.
- Support a child’s self-esteem, trust, confidence and resilience.
- Support emotional growth and a pathway to positive mental health.
- Provide a model of coping and support.
A Rainbows Programme cannot do the following for a child/young person:
- Analyse or diagnose emotional or behavioural problems.
- Give advice or attempt to solve problems.
- Give opinions, pass comment, make judgements, take sides or criticise.
- Give reports, take notes, give feedback or evidence.
This is an introductory pilot programme to test if children can be supported to engage and benefit from group support via Zoom.
What Day: Tuesday
What Dates: October 17th – Oct 24th – Mid Term Week – Nov 6th – Nov 13th – Nov 20th – Nov 27th -Dec
4th – Dec 11th – Dec 18th.
What Time: 5.00pm – 6.00pm via zoom (Log on from 4.55pm – session starts at 5pm)
Note: there will be no variation in days/times for this programme
This is an introductory pilot programme – and while group support for children online is growing, it is a first for Rainbows/Pillar Project. We would like to test if children can be supported to engage and benefit from group support via zoom. We know for many parents the logistics of taking children to a centre, or finding a centre near where you live can be challenging. So, this autumn as part of a pilot project, we want to test if working with children aged 10-12 years is possible. We will be asking children and parents for feedback throughout the programme on this element, so we can learn and consider the future of group support for children, which in turn will support us to learn and make recommendations in this area.
We understand that each child’s grief experience is unique and individual, and our group facilitators are trained to provide a caring and empathetic safe place online. Through group discussions, activities, and shared feelings, children we hope can find reassurance, understanding, and friendship during a time when they may feel sad, lonely, or isolated following the death of someone they love (parent, sibling, grandparent). It is our experience that meeting others experiencing a similar loss can be very supportive for a child.
Elements of the Programme
- 9 weeks, one evening per week (break on October mid-term).
- Your child will engage in the Rainbows Bereavement Programme
- Your child must be aged between 10-12 years (5th -6th class/primary school).
- Two trained, experienced and Garda vetted Rainbows Group Facilitators will lead the group.
- Materials/resources for each session will be posted to your home in advance so your child has what they need for the sessions.
- Your child will need access to a laptop or Tablet, and you will need to have WIFI.
- Parents will be asked to sign into the zoom link with their child and then leave the room, allowing your child to have private space to fully engage in the group. There will be guidance around creating a safe space for your child, which parents will need to consider if they can offer over the course of 9 weeks.
- Parent will be asked to return to the room after the hour and sign their child out and leave the zoom meeting.
- Parents are asked to ensure that no one enters the room while the group session is under way. This is to ensure the privacy of your child and others on the group. Children will be asked to wear earphones, so the voices of other children are not heard in your home.
- Programme Evaluation Forms will be issued to Parents/Guardians pre and post programme delivery. This is to support us to see what change may occur for children over the course of 9 weeks.
- Participating children will be encouraged to offer feedback weekly through a child friendly evaluation of their zoom group experience. As this is a pilot programme, we will want to hear directly from children as to their experience of engaging with us via zoom.
- This programme is FREE of charge, however we do need children and parents to commit to attending the group weekly, so everyone benefits from the peer support which can be harnessed in such groups.
- Parents will be invited to attend a Pre- Course Information Session online to support you to understand the course content and how to support your child over the 9-week period.
- Children First Guidance and Data Protection (GDPR) will be applied throughout this programme.
Creating a Safe Space for your Child to Engage on Zoom
- Ideally your child should use a room like the sitting room to sit in while on zoom. It is not and intimate space such as their bedroom/ but can hopefully be closed off for an hour from other family members.
- Other children and parents need to leave the room for the full hour and close the door. Children will not open up, chat, engage in the session if they feel parents or siblings are listening at the door. They need privacy, but safety.
- Parents should take the lead in opening and closing the zoom link for each session, ensuring children are safe online.
- It is okay to ask your child ‘how was that for you? but please don’t ask them to go through everything they did. Allow them to share or not share as they wish – remember it is their space.
- Over the course of the 9 weeks, children may start to ask questions more, seek information or change how they behave, try to be open to this and support them. Offer some 1-1 quality time so they have opportunities to talk with you.
- Do not leave children alone in the house. It is important to be within earshot if your child does need you, while maintaining their privacy at the same time. Children will not be aware of what is happening outside of the room, they cannot answer the door, the phone etc during the session. Take your usual steps to care for them – the facilitator is online so cannot step in if something goes wrong for them.
- Ensure in the background of your child’s zoom there are no personal photos etc which the group can see, to further protect your child and family’s privacy.
- Sessions will never be recorded and only Rainbows Ireland Programme content will be shared with the children.
- We will ensure only your child’s first name is shared on the zoom camera with the group and will support them to safeguard their privacy while on line, while getting the most from the group and peer support.
How to Register your Child
If you feel your child would benefit from this group and you can commit fully to the above days/dates/times, then please do the following:
- Complete Expression of Interest Form and send to Rainbows Ireland (download here).
- Staff member from Rainbows Ireland/Pillar Project will make contact with you.
- We will complete an enrolment form in full with you.
- We will seek to attain dual consent – this means that where a child has two legal guardians, we need to inform both and have the consent of both before we can progress. This is something you should explore with the other parent, prior to enrolling your child.
- You will be invited to attend the Parents Information Session
- You will during the course be asked to complete evaluations to help us learn what zoom engagement is like from your perspective for your child/family situation.
- You will be required to ensure you follow the Guidance on Creating a Safe Space for your child.
More info can be found here: rainbowsireland.ie
Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.
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- Courses are ongoing from January 2023 to June 2023.
- Each programme is 9 weeks in duration.
- There will be a number of children’s programmes running in Ozanam House every week.
- We also run programmes in schools and other locations.
Please contact the Project Coordinator to book your child in for the next group or to discuss running a 9 week programme in your centre.
Contact the Project Coordinator to express an interest in attending with your child or to find out more about how the Pillar Project can support you, your child and the other parent.
Project Coordinator: Roisin Sarsfield
Telephone: 089 9407519