Rainey Sun and Fun Club, based at West Heath Community Centre, Hampstead, worked with eight children aged 5-12 years old on a special mosaic project over 3 sessions. The children were all identified as having difficulties with concentration including those with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
For the first session, the children were asked to discuss their earliest memories of West Heath Community Centre and each child was then given the tools to draw what they could see in front of them, in their eye-line and most importantly, from their perspective. This created an opportunity to acknowledge how different people are and how individual life experiences can change a person’s viewpoint. After the discussion, each child was given instructions on how to use all the tools correctly and safely, including nippers, glass scorers and tile cutters.
In the second session, the children were introduced to a group of adults, who would help them to plan the project and assist with the construction of the mosaics. It was decided the mosaic was to be a series of trees representing the orchard in the centre carpark with a part of the centre showing behind.
Whilst initially the children were shy with the adults, they soon opened up and were happy to discuss their drawings, delegate responsibility and instruct the adults on how to use the tools. They even reprimanded adults for not wearing their safety goggles!
For the final session, the two groups diligently worked together, cutting tiles and building the mosaic piece by piece. Adults shared their memories of their childhoods and the children were surprised to learn that many of them attended the same local schools. As the project came to an end, the group began to reflect, it was agreed this is the best part of the sessions was learning the skills to tell left and right, cutting the tile for the first time, sharing ideas and doing something fun. The worst part was it was that it was the last session.
The children’s concentration skills and ability to engage socially noticeably improved over the sessions, with friendships being formed across generations.