Helping kids cope with the world around them
WITH so much fear and uncertainty surrounding our kids right now, this Coffs Coast teacher is on a mission to help kids everywhere not only cope, but flourish.
"It's all about putting kids in touch with their loving side, Sparky, and their fearful side, Shady," says Kathy Sheehan who is a regular in classrooms across the region and has seen first-hand the emotional impact the COVID-19 crisis is having on children.
Now more than ever Kathy sees the importance of teaching kids how they can manage their feelings and cope with difficult situations.
That's why in 2014 she developed the Sparky and Shady books and wellbeing program, now endorsed by Clinical Psychologists and an approved resource listed by Beyond Blue.
"I help kids understand how their body, their thoughts and feelings all work together," explains Kathy.
"When your child understands this and has the practical know-how, they can better manage challenging emotions like we are facing now with COVID-19."
Forced to cancel her April school holiday workshops, Kathy is tapping into her Sparky side to offer an online alternative for just $20 so more families can access support from home.
Lessons will be taught live by Kathy online each weekday from April 6th and only take 20 minutes.
The 10 lessons of practical knowledge and simple strategies are also recorded so kids can catch-up whenever and wherever it suits.
Families who've already experienced Sparky & Shady say it's time well spent.
"I just found the strategies were so useful and they really worked for managing anxiety," says Sophie Stojic who took 10-year-old Danika to the January workshops.
"It was amazing how using the short-cuts worked. It was really good to see the change that's happened in the last few months."
Grandmother Jennie Begg also credits Kathy for teaching 11-year-old Kai life skills that don't come naturally, yet still aren't being taught in most schools.
"Normal education often just ignores emotional intelligence and how kids can get on with other kids," explains Jennie who says the program gave Kai useful tools to practise.
"The reason I'm so passionate about Sparky & Shady is because given a little help, our kids can be brave enough to follow their dreams and make a positive difference in the world, and isn't that exactly what we need now?" adds Kathy.