By Margaret Nixon
The ability to mentalise, to stop and think about the thoughts and actions of oneself and of others, is central to CASSE’s approach to creating safe, supportive environments. Similarly, the Enhancing Emotional Literacy though Visual Arts (ELVA) program being run by The Dax Centre recognises the importance of providing students with the time and space to reflect on themselves and their interactions with others, and promotes students’ capacity to mentalise.
‘Reverie’ is the current exhibition at The Dax Centre and it is a celebration of the success of the ELVA program. Incorporating works from Ivanhoe Girls Grammar School, which is one of the 13 schools currently using program, Reverie shines a light on emotional wellbeing through contemplation, imagination, and creativity.
Comments from students involved in the ELVA program demonstrate the power of this approach in assisting students to thinking about themselves and to build their capacity to empathise with others:
“This project was exciting because you got to paint where you feel a sense of calm most and express it on paper” – Kirsten
“Seeing everyone’s ideas and their individual sense of Reverie; I found that interesting and it helped me understand their identity more” – Rhiannon
I encourage you to visit the exhibition, as it will provide you with an opportunity to see how the ELVA approach engages students in a process of reflecting on their experiences and expressing this through visual arts.
For more information about the ELVA program, and about The Dax Centre, visit http://www.daxcentre.org/programs/enhancing-emotional-literacy-through-visual-arts/
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