New Inside & Out programme to help children's transition to secondary school

The transition from primary to secondary school is one of the most significant milestones in a child's life. It’s a big step into an often unfamiliar world for the child. And it can be an anxious time for parents.

For the child, it can raise fears around fitting in, finding new friends, worrying about if they’ll be able to handle the new homework and anxiety about their new teachers.

To help young adolescents and their families best prepare for this transition, a new and exciting outdoor initiative has been launched in Mayo. The Inside & Out preparation programme is a unique, one-day training programme that's based outdoors.

The programme, based in the woods near Newport, will guide families through issues like:

•How best to manage the transition into secondary school.

•How to better deal with worry and anxiety.

•Improving communication skills.

•Identifying fears and worries and learning skills to cope with anxiety.

•Ways to deal with bullying.

The initiative is the brainchild of psychotherapist Peter Devers and outdoor education specialist Graham Clarke.

Peter Devers explained: “Our goal with the day is to help young adolescents and their parents best prepare for the transition from primary school to secondary school. It's a big deal in any young person's life. And the parents! I say that as a parent of two young boys, one of whom is about to start secondary school.

“In the wake of Covid-19, the supports that would normally exist within many schools to help incoming students aren't there. Which is a worry for me. Like every parent I want my children to have a positive experience starting this new chapter in their lives. Which is why myself and Graham created this programme.”

Wilderness or adventure-based therapy involves the use of traditional counselling and psychotherapy theory and practice in an outdoor setting.

Peter’s co-facilitator and outdoor education specialist Graham Clarke explained: “Our blend of skills and experience means that we can deliver the programme outdoors and utilise the wonderful natural resources we have on our doorstep in stunning Mayo.

“As a psychotherapist, Peter does the 'inside' psycho-educational work. As an outdoor educator, I do the 'outside' work. Hence the name, Inside & Out.

“In this post-Covid world, the outdoors is also a perfect setting to minimise concerns around health and safety.”

The one-day programme takes place on Saturday, August 8. Families will meet in Newport before moving to the nearby woods.

Tickets are limited to 16 families. To attend, a child must be accompanied by at least one parent. Tickets are priced at €75 for a parent and child and are available at http://www.difficultemotions.com/.

For further information, visit the website or contact Peter Devers at (087) 7989253.

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