During Children's Mental Health Awareness Week (1st-7th February 2021) we thought we would share some stories and cases studies about our work. We also want to celebrate the skills and expertise of our workforce, and their ability to connect with some of the most vulnerable children and young people.
This is a report from a member of staff at Pencalenick School. Our practitioner Jane Staffieri has been working in the school for nearly 3 years, providing individual Music Mentoring funded by Youth Music, Cornwall Music Education Hub and the School.
"I was asked by our Head at Pencalenick to liaise with Jane, on a weekly basis, when Jane visited our school to provide Music Mentoring. This was positive for me because not only do our roles link so well; our services offer the pupils a therapeutic and expressive form of communication and creativity. But, in addition, Jane inadvertently provided me with many opportunities for personal reflection and growth. Jane’s training, skills, experience and personality, make a huge difference to the atmosphere within school, on the day that she comes in. This is because the staff at school, are so passionate about supporting the needs of the children. Therefore, seeing Jane arrive on a Monday, brings relief to that staff member, that a particular child that they support, would receive a therapeutic intervention that would either ‘set them up for the day’ or provide them with the opportunity on that day, to explore aspects of themselves in a wholly present and ‘safely held’ environment, totally catered to their needs in that moment of each session.
The pupils are encouraged by Jane to bring out all aspects of themselves. Each session allows opportunities for exploration, playfulness, expression, learning and reflection. Jane holds the pupils’ in highest regard with passion for her work, acceptance of each pupil, care and empathy. Thus, enabling those pupils to relax and bring forth whatever needs to be shared; sometimes for Jane, I am aware that this, at times, involved pupils letting go of some traumatic experiences and feelings. For some of our pupils, this opportunity can stay with them as a life-long experience.
Jane’s professionalism is outstanding. It can’t be easy as a visitor in a school. There were often times whereby availability of space and timings got changed. Jane’s flexibility and communication around what would be best for the pupils, was a model to the whole staff team.
The pupils who have received the mentoring, not only look forward to their session with Jane; but also learning mentors report, they have returned to class with a shift in perspective. This might be a spring in their step or an ability to deal with their day with a little more ease, a confidence to share difficult feelings. I only wish that every child in the school could have the opportunity to work with Jane.
I believe that when we return after the pandemic, Music Mentoring sessions will be more important than ever, post Covid. For our pupils at Pencalenick, who find language and understanding of their feelings so challenging; music as a form of communication and expression can be the key to unlocking vast potential for positive change.
Thank you Jane for the work that you do."