One day, ceramicist and social worker Yvonne Cahill walked into Innovative Resources with a pouch of small stone heads. She wondered if they might be a useful tacile resource to accompany our other stone-themed publications. We took one look and said, ‘Yup, you bet!’
So here it is: A Pocket of Stones—a set of 12 hand-crafted ceramic heads, each one a different shape and bearing a different facial expression. These quirky little characters are ideal for talking about feelings. They can be used by themselves or with other play therapy materials and, while they’re perfect for all ages, they have a special resonance for some children.
Fans of our picture book The Wrong Stone and the card set Stones …have feelings too! will be delighted to find some of the same characters coming to life in 3D form.
- Which stone represents how you are feelings today?
- Which stone is you on the outside and which is you on the inside?
- Which stone would you like to be?
- Would it help if you kept a stone in your pocket to remind you of the feelings you want to have or the person you want to be?
Social workers, pre-school and primary teachers, chaplains, early childhood workers, brickies, stone masons and psychologists: here’s a truly hands-on resource for walking the rocky road towards emotional wellbeing.
Stories and Reviews
I must tell you that every time I get a parcel from Innovative Resources, my children have much pleasure in pulling out and sampling whatever I have brought. My fifteen year old daughter loves the Pocket of Stones and informed me that kids will love them. Hmmm maybe young people do too—now that’s a thought!!! Thanks again,
Maree Corbo, Counsellor
Excerpt from ‘The Masks of Grief,’ The Serious Optimist, no. 31, 2006.
Bette Phillips is Family Support Services Coordinator for families and individuals bereaved by workplace fatalities. She also facilitates grief-related workshops, one of which focuses on the masks of grief.
‘The Pocket of Stones is always useful for showing how the faces of those around you may look when you feel deepest in your grief. They are especially useful when ‘mapping’ how you perceive you may be judged. Many of our clients receive compensation for the death of their loved one. This often brings feelings of guilt for their financial gain from the death. It is then that a client may feel they are being judged for how that money is used; the judgment may appear to come from family and friends alike.
Sitting with a client and using butchers’ paper and the Pocket of Stones to actually create a ‘who’s who’ allows to the client to see that sometimes the feelings come more from themselves rather than those around them.
This was the case for one woman who felt that many of her family and friends were judging her for the compensation that she received from her husband’s death. However, after spending some time creating a map she realised that her feelings came from within and there was maybe only one or two who she might consider to be sitting in judgment of her. And, in the bigger picture, they did not matter all that much.
I now have a tool bag that I always have in my car. I love to use the materials from St Luke’s Innovative Resources and I really feel that the client receives a quality of service that is enhanced by the tool kit.’
Annie Townsend, excerpt from ‘Where do You Start?’ Serious Optimist no. 29, Spring 2005.
In my role as child protection mentor I travelled to the five most tsunami-devastated zones of Aceh, including Nias which was hit by an earthquake in March 2005. Together with the World Vision child protection manager, I co-facilitated the ‘psychosocial education’ training offered to the child protection teams.
In this transitional stage, as Aceh moved from emergency to development, the main focus of the World Vision child protection program was the development of ‘Child Friendly Spaces’. Children gathered at these spaces through the day and child protection teams organised play and other activities for the children. Some zones interpreted Child Friendly Spaces as having more of an educational focus for children, some were based around informal play, some had a strong parental influence, some were a safe place for children away from the destruction and some were a place for children to continue to pray and practice their religious beliefs. The challenge for the community was eventually to move from being a child-friendly place to a child-friendly community.
During the training, the child protection teams saw the Pocket of Stones as an effective tool for use in this space to promote play and conversation. Using the stones, children could choose to express a range of emotions. The stones also became talismans for children for the day.
During the training, each team developed unique activities with the stones and the tool itself became a springboard for other tools made by the teams within their own community.
Working as a humanitarian worker in the tsunami regions is challenging because there is a sense of working from ‘ground zero’. The question most workers ask is, ‘Where do you start?’ This experience brings it home that simple tools like the Strength Cards and Pocket of Stones in a ground zero situation bring about a quiet sense of hope and meaningful action.
Excerpt from ‘Stone Therapy for Special Siblings’, SOON no. 54, November 2012.
In September 2012, our collection of ‘stony’ resources inspired lots of fun and creativity at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital in Adelaide. Art therapist, Belinda Ryan, selected our picture book, The Wrong Stone, as her starting point for some ingenious workshop activities for siblings of children in the hospital’s Paediatric Palliative Care Unit.
‘Siblings of children who have a life-limiting illness can often feel isolated and alone. So we developed a pilot program for 8-12 year olds to help them connect with one another, have some fun and feel special. The Wrong Stone was the perfect story to use for a series of art-based activities. Children identify with the stony characters immediately, and there are so many ways you can play with stones!
For another activity, we created a spectacular stone wall (based on the one in the book) and used it as a setting for a puppet show. The children used the puppets to express what it’s like to have a brother or sister who has (or had) a life-limited illness. Surrounded by all the stones celebrating difference and uniqueness, the puppets were able to ‘speak’ freely from their places along wall.
Innovative Resources’ Stones …have feelings too! and Pocket of Stones provided us with a brilliant barometer of how the children were feeling over the two days. Each child was also presented with a copy of The Wrong Stone and some of the Stones ..have feelings too! stickers. The book presentation was a real highlight of the workshop, and we followed it by re-reading the story together (with gusto!) to reiterate its messages. It was satisfying to give the children these permanent mementos, to remind them of their special place in the world and all that they learned during the program.’
Belinda Ryan, Art Therapist, Paediatric Palliative Care, Women’s and Children’s Hospital, Adelaide.
Excerpt from ‘Sharing Stories and Cultures in PNG’, SOON no. 53, September 2012.
Kristen Tinkler has been travelling to Papua New Guinea regularly for the past six years, visiting her brother and trekking into remote areas each time. She is keen to pursue volunteer work there and support local communities dealing with high unemployment, low literacy levels, and limited health and education services.
On her latest trip, Kristen spent three weeks in the village of Rakanda, located on a remote island in the Duke of York Group. Kristen tells us, ‘This village had not had a white woman stay with them before, so it wasn’t long before I had a trail of children following me wherever I went. I stayed with a family with five children, sleeping in their hut and learning to manage without running water or electricity, and cope with an average daily temperature of 36 degrees and the continual onslaught of mosquitos.’
Kristen relished storytelling activities with the local children, using picture books, puppets and songs. ‘I used Mates Traits with the children as these were ideal in the cross-cultural setting. The pictures are colourful and clear, and I could use them as conversation prompts to see if the children knew the animals’ names (such as koala, wombat, kangaroo, etc.).The Pocket of Stones was popular too since a traditional village game is using small pebbles or stones to play ‘jacks’.’
Kristen works at Melbourne’s Holmesglen Institute where she is involved in the Work Education Program and teaches students aged 17-21 who have learning difficulties. Next year she will spend her long service leave back in Rakanda, assisting children with disabilities and supporting language and literary work at a local school.