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Seasons for Growth is an innovative grief and loss education programme using the imagery of the seasons to illustrate the experience of grief.
It aims to strengthen the social and emotional wellbeing of children and young people who are dealing with significant life changes such as death, divorce, separation, family breakdown and other changes. It does this by exploring the impact and loss on every-day life, and by teaching new ways to respond to these changes.
Young people learn that they are not alone in dealing with the effects of change, loss and grief, and build their communication, decision-making and problem-solving skills within a peer support group.
- Learn about how different people respond to change, loss and grief.
- Understand that it is normal to experience a range of grief reactions.
- Explore new approaches to dealing with change and loss in their lives.
- Build communication, decision-making and problem-solving skills.
- Participate in a support network of peers and adults.
- Integrate their new learning into relationships with family, friends and others.
- Helps restore self-confidence and self-esteem.
- Draws on extensive research in developing a sound educative response to loss and grief.
Who is involved in Seasons for Growth?
A trained adult ‘Companion’. facilitates the small group programme where participants support and learn from each other in age appropriate and engaging activities.
Companions can be teachers, psychologists, nurses, counsellors, social workers or others working with young people in the statutory or voluntary sectors.
Companions are trained and supported by our national and regional Trainers.
How is the Seasons programme structured?
The programme consists of five levels:
- Level 1 (ages 6-8 years) (40 minute sessions)
- Level 2 (ages 9-10 years) (40 minute sessions)
- Level 3 (ages 11-12 years) (45 minute sessions)
- Level 4 (ages 13-15 years) (50 minute sessions)
- Level 5 (ages 16-18 years) (50 minute sessions)
Seasons for Growth is implemented over:
- 8 sessions
- 1 Celebration session
- 2 Re-connector sessions
What does this programme achieve?
Seasons for Growth originates and has been widely used in Australia and a number of overseas countries since 1996. It has been independently evaluated in conjunction with the Commonwealth Government of Australia and supervised by an Advisory Committee chaired by Emeritus Professor Beverly Raphael, a leading Australian authority in Mental Health Promotion and Prevention. The evaluation concluded that:
- Seasons for Growth has a strong, positive effect on young people.
- Parents, Companions, School Principals and Agency Managers believe without exception that the programme is beneficial to children and young people.
- The participants said that the programme has removed their sense of isolation, allowed them to express their feelings without being ashamed of them and helped them to develop trust in others.
- Seasons for Growth contributes broadly to intervention against youth suicide in that it provides an early system of safety, opportunities for identification and referral, and lessening of vulnerability.
As a result, many said, they had been able to:
- Seek support, when necessary, from the Companion outside the formal process of the programme.
- Form friendships and support networks with others in the programme.
- Communicate better with their parents or siblings.
- Understand that life moves on and that changes do happen.
- Cope better with their emotions.