Kate McCullagh - Child and Adolescent Therapist, Clinical Supervisor
Kate is an experienced integrative child and adolescent therapist as well as a clinical supervisor, who has a wealth of experience working in primary and secondary schools, youth centres and in private practice. Kate is passionate about helping young people to help themselves and enabling those around them to create the best possible environment for that to happen. Each young person is unique and Kate tailors her skills to the young person’s needs. In this process Kate works with parents, carers and professionals to best support the child and family’s needs. She is a member of the BACP and ACTO and has an enhanced DBS.
At St Mary’s Kate provides weekly individual and group Play Therapy to children with a wide range of social and emotional difficulties. Play Therapy is a form of psychotherapy that uses a variety of play and creative arts techniques to help children to express themselves and to make sense of their feelings. It enables children to develop long term coping skills and strategies, which improve self- esteem, confidence and well- being. Play is a child’s natural medium of expression and is essential for their cognitive, social and emotional development. At St Mary’s we are lucky enough to have a dedicated therapy room, where Kate works with the children in a safe and nurturing environment.
Kate also provides a weekly check in session for teachers, ensuring further support to the children she sees as well as providing an opportunity to discuss supportive strategies and techniques for the whole class where appropriate. In addition, Kate works with staff to provide and deliver social skills workshops to groups and will also be a facilitator and supervisor for the Rainbows programme.
Rainbows Bereavement Support GB
We are pleased to announce an addition to our School programme. We now offer support groups for a child who may be experiencing a difficulty or distress due to a change within their family circumstance, or any painful loss. This programme is called RAINBOWS, which supports children in upper Key Stage 1, Key Stage 2 and Key Stage 3.
When something significant happens in a family, the entire family can be affected. If a parent dies, a divorce happens, or some other painful loss occurs, not only do the parents grieve, the children do too. Children may find it extremely difficult to verbalise their feelings of grief because of their age and life experience.
We have some very sensitive, caring and trained adults who will be working with the children to support them in managing their feelings, work through their grief, build a stronger sense of self-esteem, and begin to accept what has taken place in the family.
If your child has experienced the death of a loved family member, friend or sibling, or loss from a divorce or separation, the Rainbows programme can offer a safe space to provide support for your child.
Rainbows Programmes provide age relevant materials which form a structured 12 – 14 week programme to assist children and young people through their grief and loss. The sessions will cover and explore: One of a kind (self-esteem), Inside out (feelings), Why my family? Making the pieces fit (coping skills), Anger and hurt, Facing fears and worries, Families are all different, Belonging to my family, Different kinds of family, Endings and beginnings (change), Weathering the storm (adapting and adjusting), Living with change and Celebrate me session (a celebration and conclusion of the programme).
Confidentiality, which is at the heart of all Rainbows Programmes, is kept at all times unless a child or young person is at risk, in which case the school’s safeguarding procedures are followed.
To support our younger children in the Early Years and Year 1, there is also a group called SunBeams. This is modelled on the Rainbows programme but uses age appropriate resources. Through SunBeams, children will have the opportunity to grieve the loss in their family and develop appropriate coping mechanisms for life.
Part of the SunBeams programme involves using activities such as puppets, especially designed to help them express their feelings and to learn new coping strategies. The sessions include the following subjects: Self, Divorce and Death, Anger, Family, Belonging, Trust and Coping Tools.
If you think that you may be interested in either of these programmes, or would just like some further information, please see Miss Collis (co-ordinator) for more details. Miss Collis and her team will then assess the suitability of your child for a referral to the Rainbows programme.
Other interventions available:
Mentors - A trusted member of staff who checks-in regularly to support the child they are working with.
Buddy system - Pairing the children up to support and help each other.
PALS - A social skills programme that teaches children from 3 to 6 about greeting others, listening, sharing, taking turns, dealing with feelings of fear, sadness and anger and solving problems. Learning social skills like these in early childhood is of the utmost importance for children’s future development.
Socially Speaking - A social skills programme aimed at children 7 onwards, which is divided into three units: let’s communicate, let’s be friends, and let’s practise. As pupils progress through this carefully structured programme, it aims to improve their self-esteem, communication skills and social interactions.
PlayPod - The children have access to the PlayPod every day which has numerous benefits for the children, some of which include: positive play interaction with others resulting in improvements in behaviour and a reduction of incidents, integrated play across age ranges, abilities and genders, and children working together.
Residential Trips - At St. Mary’s our children are offered opportunities to attend residential trips which develop independence, improve the children’s confidence and self-esteem, build strong teacher and student relationships, engage and motivate students and create lifelong memories.
The Sensory Room - We are very fortunate to have a sensory room, we are extremely grateful to our generous parents for raising the money to make the creation of this wonderful room possible. This room is available for all of our children to access, it provides a safe space for calm and comfort, which we all need from time to time. Some children have targeted support in this room, for example the sensory room can enhance learning through occupational therapy strategies and recommendations.
If you would like any more information regarding any of the interventions we offer at St. Mary’s, please do not hesitate to contact us via the school office.
Miss J Harte (Headteacher and SENCo), Mrs K McCullagh (Integrative Child and Adolescent Therapist), Miss S Collis (Rainbows Co-ordinator)
Please explore the links and documents that Rainbows have kindly provided. You will find some really useful documents with links to websites as well as a book list, that you may find useful to support your family at this difficult time