Kiwi Primary School, Bulford, is the first in the UK to try a new Military Child Wellbeing Course, launched by military children’s charity, Little Troopers.
The course was created by experts, including a cognitive behavioural therapy specialist, creative arts psychotherapist and play therapists, alongside Little Troopers founder, Army veteran and military parent, Louise Fetigan.
Six children at Kiwi School took part in the first lesson and the plan is to extend the course to the school from September. Susan Raeburn, headteacher at Kiwi School, said: “We see first-hand the impact military life sometimes has on children when they are separated from their parents or moving home, so a course like this enables us to prepare children for the more challenging times in advance, rather than just responding reactively.
“In September, student numbers by 35% due to the Army re-basing programme. Lots of children will move here who may have never moved home before. The course gives us a systematic way to support them as they arrive and throughout their time with us.”
The Little Troopers course caters for small groups ranging from six to 11 years old, and therefore as relevant to schools with two service children as those with 100 or more. The comprehensive pack features all the resources needed for the child-friendly, interactive course of seven sessions. Topics include how to cope with separation, deployment, house moves and living abroad, as well as personal themes of belonging, identity and mindfulness.
Louise said: “Of course, many children thrive in the military community and enjoy meeting new friends, travelling around the world and embracing opportunities that military life can bring, but with the highs can come lows. These same children can be faced with other challenges civilian classmates are often not familiar with.
“The aim of the course is to acknowledge that service children do sometimes need additional support and to provide a safe space in which to open up these conversations and help children navigate the challenges in positive ways, now or in the future.”
The course complements the Little Troopers existing Primary Resource Pack. Each school purchasing the course receives a USB with all of the course materials included so they can be used time and time again.
All profits from the course go back into the Little Troopers fund to continue creating resources, initiatives and events to support military children.