When is a box of junk, a box of magic?
At Arc School Napton,a school for children aged 7-11 with autism and social, emotional and mental health needs, a jewellery box filled with junk store finds and hand me downs, helps children with attachment and other issues, feel safe.
“Ten years ago, when I was new to the school, we had a little boy who loved dressing up, jewellery and dancing. It made him so happy; but at home, his Dad didn’t like him doing this.
The jewellery box started then, as a way for him to have a place and opportunity to play in the way that helped him feel happy and learn. Over the years, staff have brought in old jewellery, or have picked things up at jumble sales or car boot sales, and the jewellery box has grown. Fiona says:
“Many of the children here have never seen a jewellery box, so because of the textures and colours and shapes and different ways you can wear the pieces, it fascinated them. They can invent stories about the pieces inside and it can be a very non-threatening way for a child who struggles with conversation, to talk to others.
“More importantly, as so many of the children at Arc Napton have experienced trauma and struggle with the after-effects of that, the items in the box act as transitional items for children with attachment issues. So if a child is anxious about going somewhere, or someone leaving, we can give them an item from the box, which they can hold, and we will tell them they can give it back it to us later, so they know we will return and they will see them again.
“Last week, we had a boy who was upset and didn’t want to leave school, so I gave him a brooch and asked him to bring it back to school the next day. He immediately became calmer, because he trusted that he would see us all again and he had something to hold and look at
Whatever children are going through, it seems Fiona’s magic jewellery box can be used to help children do what is most important: feel safe when they play.
For referrals to Arc School Napton, please email firstname.lastname@example.org