Strength Heroes are fun art and play workshops for kids of all ages. Children learn resilience and mindfulness as they create beautiful creations to take home.
During the recent school holidays, Miss 8 had the opportunity to attend a two day Mistake Maker workshop. Children are dropped for the day to be collected mid-afternoon. The focus in these workshops is that it is okay to make a mistake and how we can see these as an opportunity to learn. Fiona, who leads the class, describes them as “like school, except we make art and have fun all day”. Without a doubt, this was true! My Miss 8 had a great time, as did other children in attendance.
At first, on arrival, the children settled in with some simple colouring sheets. On this occasion, they had unicorns, lions and turtles to choose from. Sitting around the large table, this was a good opportunity for the group of children to begin to get to know one another. It’s also an opportunity to relax into their environment.
Moving on, Fiona introduced herself more fully and explained how she was feeling a little bit anxious. This opened a discussion of why she (and the children) may feel that way.
Following this, Fiona and the children began to plan out their big art piece for the workshop: An animal painting. This involved choosing which animal they would draw and paint. After that, Fiona showed the children how to fold their first sheet of blank paper and plan out the drawing to scale. With a group discussion, Fiona and the children talked through how she should draw her leopard.
Then, along with the Very Arty Play Day class from next door, the children went for a nature walk through the gardens to collect materials for sculpting with later. These include dropped leaves, sticks, gumnuts and the like. The children are encouraged to only take things that have dropped from the trees and bushes.
As this first day went on, the children completed two drafts of their big art piece. They enjoyed a packed lunch from home and play in the grounds of the venue. During the afternoon they also completed a sculpture out of air dry clay and began a weaving piece out of coloured yarn.
The following day, when children arrived the work continued on their weaving . Using collage and painting, an artwork of Battie, the Strengh Heroes mascot, was created. Children completed their individual big paintings. We came home with a stack of beautiful artwork to show the family.
During work on these pieces, there were tears and upset when things went wrong. Some of the activities can be challenging, such as the weaving activity. Fiona gently teaches children how to manage the big feelings that can accompany making a mistake. They learn why the body reacts as it does, and how to manage this through growth mindset and deep breathing. I know for Miss 8, with her logical mind but busy mind, taking the mystery out of anxiety has definitely helped.
Fiona discusses the self-talk we experience when we make a mistake. About the different emotions existing in our “Brain House”. Emotions such as calm, anger, sadness, the worrier and the warrior for example. She talks about being on an “emotional wizzy-dizzy” and how to slow down.
Children are also introduced to Battie, a Strength Heroes mascot, during the workshop. Battie “helps to remind us to BAT when the big emotions take over. To calm down we need to Breathe, Admit and Think.” A soft, cuddly Battie is on hand to comfort and just snuggle with children as needed.
Miss 8 enjoyed attending both days. In fact, this is the second time she has attended the Mistake Maker workshop. Of the children attending, Miss 8 has ADHD and sensory sensitivities, while others had anxiety or other needs. Fiona and her small team of Strength Heroes educators are very good at making the children feel seen and working with their individual needs.
One of Miss 8’s ADHD traits is a tendency towards perfectionism, and she can be very hard on herself when things don’t go as she feels they should. Her emotions can erupt and she has negative self-talk. She got a lot out of the Mistake Maker workshop, and she will apply the growth mindset techniques in school and to her sports in future. We talked about needing to BAT just yesterday after sport for example. Other children attending similarly seemed to grow and bloom with confidence during these two days, and some children struck up friendships that will go on beyond the Strength Heroes workshop.
When asked what she liked best, Miss 8 says she enjoyed painting, working with clay and weaving best. She also forged a lovely connection with two little girls of a similar age.
If you have a creative child, especially one with a nervous nature, or who is a sensitive soul, or a bit of a perfectionist, I’d recommend giving these art workshops a go. The Strength Heroes workshops give children a great opportunity to explore their feelings and who they are, to find skills to become more confident. There are classes of varying lengths, from a few hours to these two days workshops. So, with that in mind, there’s something to suit everyone’s needs.
The workshops run with parents dropping children off and coming back later. If your child is anxious about staying alone, the educators are okay with parents staying for a while until children have eased in. But honestly, my Miss 8 was so busy with colouring in and creating, it barely registered that I’d left!
In conclusion, I would highly recommend the Strength Heroes workshops to other families. We will definitely book another class in school holidays again. Miss 8 would love to go again.
Book your child’s next workshop online via the Strength Heroes website.
Workshops are hosted at various locations across Perth including the Art Space Collective in Scarborough and Perth College in Mount Lawley.
Prices vary from class to class.
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