I love when students visit my room during the day or eat lunch with me. (It’s a special treat when parents stop by, so please visit sometime!) Below is a picture of my “child-centered” corner. All Pre-First through second graders have had a tour of my office. I have explained that my art supplies, games, and stuffed animals are tools I use to help children. For some children, it’s easier to recreate a playground argument using two dinosaurs as the main players in the scene than to sit still and tell an adult what happened.
The sand tray is not a place for building sand castles or pretending one is at the beach; it is a counseling tool. Earlier this week, I used the sand tray with a student who was feeling worried about a particular situation. I verbally tracked the student’s movements and asked questions as the student created a scene in the tray. As you can see in the photo below, the student set up “Evil” on the left vs “Good” on the right. Buzz Lightyear guards the fallen “good” guys, and mama bear watches from the sidelines and “knows something bad is going to happen.” The student decided that Good would win in the end because “there are more of them.”
The answers to my questions, the objects chosen, the position in which the objects were positioned, and the speed with which the sand tray scene was created allowed me to learn more about the student as a person and about the situation currently causing the student to worry. We were able to discuss how the student’s situation could be represented by the objects and how the student might be able to feel some power and confidence and eventually take personal control of the situation.
If you are interested in reading more about sand trays, click here.