The kids walked into the room, or were carried in (those with casts on their legs) and I think they were pretty excited to see that they were going to get to do something fun and specifically devoted to just them. Paint, colors, paper, glue, pompoms, stickers! – All just for them.
In order to introduce the kids and their mothers (or grandmothers) to the program, I started off with a big group session for everyone. We did some fun crafts (again, thank you to Chris for donating so much stuff!). The mothers got just as into it as the kids. I generally see kids one-on-one to be able to really interact and give my full attention, but this was a great way to give the mothers an idea of what is going on when their child goes for an art therapy session.
For one of the projects we did, I handed out colored paper to all the kids. I told them to pick out whichever color they wanted, and it was really interesting to see what they chose. There was only one boy, and he picked pink. The girls all chose different colors. I took a course on cross cultural issues for my art therapy degree, so I knew (in theory) that the assumptions we make in the West about gender and color preferences don’t apply everywhere else, but it still struck me.
In the West, if there was a room full of girls and only one boy, I don’t think this would have ever happened. First of all, the boy would probably not choose pink, and second of all, if he did take the only pink piece of paper, there would probably be an uproar among the girls. Whenever I worked with kids before, I always I had enough pinks and blues to make sure everyone was happy. But here, none of them even gave it a second thought. It’s one thing to learn about this kind of thing in class, but it’s something else to actually experience it. I also realized that most of them were probably just happy to have a piece of paper at all, regardless of its color.
I’m excited to be daily learning, growing, and gaining a new perspective as an art therapist in this context.