All children grieve differently and may express anger, fear, guilt, repetitive behaviour and regression. These reactions are a normal response to a loss of any kind.
Paradise Kids aims to "help heal the heartache". This emphasis on ‘heart-work’ indicates that we take a ‘holistic’ approach to address all aspects of the child: body, mind and spirit. We believe that this offers valuable life skills and allows our children to move forward in life and face the future with healthy living that includes love, body awareness, understanding of feelings, happiness, confidence, and inner peace that can be maintained in times of change.
Paradise Kids deals with serious issues, yet each of our programs also includes a lot of fun. Activities include art, storytelling, breath work, stress reduction exercises, meditation, guided visualisations, movement, music and laughter. In an atmosphere of peer support, and with leadership from professional counsellors, each child is supported individually by a volunteer ‘buddy’ trained to provide grief support. Research has shown that for both children and adults the natural healing process of grief can take place more effectively if there is a safe, supportive environment and encouragement.
In the words of noted educator Paulo Freire, “We learn not by experience but by reflecting on experience.” Children and parents participating in the Paradise Kids programs have all experienced some form of loss, such as their own terminal illness, a death of a parent or sibling, or family break up through divorce or separation. Our structured programs provide peer support in groups of ten children, each of whom has the individual support of a trained volunteer ‘buddy.’ A separate group provides support for the parents and caregivers. The children and their parents learn to accept the reality of the loss, feel the feelings in a safe way, commemorate the loss and move to a higher sense of esteem and resilience. This approach normalises the grief process, gives insights into the tasks of mourning, and teaches life skills and resilience that help prevent ongoing physical and emotional health problems from unresolved grief.