Cultivating confidence, expression through drama

Helen Heatley Martina Resende
Enter the Sunshine Club, a pioneering drama-based wellbeing program designed to enrich children's lives without burdening their already packed schedules.
Helen Heatley Martina Resende

In the bustling educational landscape of China, where academic rigor often takes center-stage, the quest for holistic education becomes increasingly vital.

At Wellington College International Shanghai we recognize the significance of nurturing more than just academic prowess. Enter the Sunshine Club, a pioneering drama-based wellbeing program designed to enrich children's lives without burdening their already packed schedules.

In a culture where scholastic achievements are highly emphasized, the importance of holistic education cannot be overstated. While academic excellence is undoubtedly crucial, nurturing a child's emotional intelligence, self-expression, confidence and self-esteem is equally pivotal. The Sunshine Club at Wellington Shanghai embodies this ethos, offering a unique avenue for personal growth and well-being.

Harnessing the power of drama, this program facilitates a safe space for self-exploration and expression. Through carefully-curated activities, improvisation, role-playing, storytelling, puppets and drama therapy, students are encouraged to step into different roles, express emotions, and navigate diverse and difficult scenarios. In this process, they discover facets of themselves, build confidence and develop their emotional intelligence.

Cultivating confidence, expression through drama
Ti Gong

Wellbeing is manifested at Wellington Shanghai through the Sunshine Club program and the emphatic use of puppets.

Recognizing the demanding schedules our children often face, the Sunshine Club operates with flexibility in mind. It is a whole school intervention program providing nurture groups for our younger children and high-quality wellbeing workshops for the whole school community.

Sessions are strategically integrated into existing school activities, ensuring minimal disruption to academic pursuits. By infusing wellbeing practices seamlessly into the school routine, students can access the benefits without compromising on their academic commitments.

The drama-based approach of the Sunshine Club acts as a catalyst for self-expression. Engaging in dramatic exercises and performances allows students to break out of their shells, articulate thoughts, and communicate effectively. This process instils a sense of confidence, empowering them to navigate social situations with poise and assurance.

Emotional intelligence, a crucial life skill, finds a nurturing ground within the Sunshine Club. Every child through exploring various characters and scenarios, children develop empathy, resilience, and the ability to understand and manage emotions.

This not only enriches their interpersonal relationships, but also fortifies their self-esteem as they learn to navigate complexities with resilience and grace.

(Helen Heatley is teacher of dance and drama. Martina Resende is Sunshine Club coordinator and pupil wellbeing specialist from Wellington College International Shanghai.)

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