Seasons for Growth was written by Dr Anne P Graham PhD in collaboration with education, health and welfare professionals. Since its launch in 1996, the programme has reached thousands of children and young people, as well as adults, in Australia, New Zealand, the UK, Ireland and Peru.
Aimed at young people aged 6-18 years, Seasons for Growth is an 8 week school and community based program. Using a set of well-crafted resources and a trained, accredited Companion (a teacher, chaplain, guidance counselor or social worker in schools) who facilitates small peer groups, the programme provides a safe and creative way to explore feelings, memories, loss and grief. Peer support is a key element of the program and confidentiality is strongly emphasised.
Achieving resilience and new hope
The programme is based on the belief that change, loss and grief are a normal and valuable part of life. We examine the impact of changes such as death, separation, divorce, illness, natural disasters and many other losses upon our lives and explore how we can learn to live with and grow from these experiences.
The core intentions of this programme are the development of resilience and emotional literacy to promote social and emotional wellbeing. The programme is educational in nature and does not provide therapy. We use the imagery of the four seasons to illustrate that grief is cyclical, not a linear journey with a clear end.
Through this programme, we recognize the innate dignity of every human being, the value of each person’s unique experience and the importance of building networks of support.
During the programme, the Companion assists the young people to:
- learn about the effects of change in their lives and how it can be accompanied by a sense of loss
- understand it is normal to experience a range of emotions because of a loss
- develop new skills and strategies to cope with feelings and other grief reactions
- appreciate and nurture personal strengths and gifts
A comfortable, safe environment is critical to this programme. Companions are provided with the appropriate space by the school or agency where the programme is to take place.