Child friendly spaces, is one of the Waldorf’s emergency interventions, providing children with a protected environment in which they participate in organized activities to play, socialize, learn and express themselves as they rebuild their lives. It is one of Waldorf programmatic intervention in emergency areas to protect children from physical harm and psychosocial distress and help them continue learning and developing both during and immediately after an emergency.
Waldorf Kakuma project is based in Kakuma and its operations are in the northern part of Kenya, It was after a deep thought to touch lives of children affected by natural disasters that it had to extend its operation in Kakuma refugee camp and therefore created child friendly spaces within the camp and even in schools. Such natural and man-made events have power to severely shake the self-perception and world view of those affected. Children and adolescents are particularly vulnerable, as such sudden disasters often tear them away from family structure and leave them traumatized. They frequently need help to overcome the traumatizing experience they had to live through and therefore the creation and importance of child friendly spaces comes in.
It’s also important to note that, sometimes, traumatized people and especially children are not able to talk about their experiences. They need an alternative, non-verbal means of expressing there experience. This is where Waldorf pedagogy sets in: The method offers artistic activities that we call them the seven lively arts that give children and adolescents means to freely illustrate the events and their experiences.
The seven lively arts include:
Drama, Drawing, Movements, Music, Modeling, Painting and speech.
How can I help a traumatized child within the child friendly space?
Understanding, love, and protection are central elements that children need and are looking for. Waldorf staffs are trained on how to deal with children especially within the child friendly spaces where their dedication and passion for children is evident. Children policies and child friendly rules are followed and this leads them to showcase love and protections to the children who access the centers for various play and therapy activities.
Referral pathways are also established within the CFS in collaboration with other partners within the CFS to assist on various child protection concerns.