Introduction to All About Me
All About Me is the initial entry point into Creative Life Story Work for children and young people.
They can either take part in All About Me Creative Experience in a group setting, facilitated by an Artist and a Pastoral Support Worker, or engage in All About Me direct work with a trusted adult, such as a foster carer or social worker.
This toolkit is a step-by-step guide to help you prepare for All About Me direct work.
All About Me Themes
All About Me is built around six themes
- This is me
- My favourite things
- My feelings
- People in my life
- Places I have lived
- My future
You can learn more about what’s explored in each theme here.
The first themes of All About Me are about understanding the child – how they see themselves, what they like to do and enjoy. This will help you gather ideas about what kind of activity and play the child enjoys, and help you plan the later sessions.
Later sessions will more readily explore life events, places and people. Each theme should be covered by one session, each lasting one hour.
The All About Me space
Sessions should take place at a venue that the child or young person is comfortable with. This must be agreed with all of those involved in advance.
The space needs to be private and secure, so you are not disturbed during the session and the child or young person can share in confidence. It is important to plan all the sessions and we recommend that you agree on a consistent time and place for the sessions as this helps form a commitment.
The people involved
As the sessions are also designed to promote attachment and relationship-building, we would recommend that they take place either:
- between a carer or social worker and a child (1:1)
- facilitated by a social worker for the carer and a child (1:2).
Whether you are the carer or a social worker we would encourage you to share information about yourself during each activity too, as this is a great way to get to know one another and helps to build relationships.
Preparing for All About Me sessions
1. Spend a bit of time reading and reflecting on the All About Me resources on this website.
2. Think about the child/young person you will be engaging in All About Me.
Make sure you have a good understanding of their current situation and their story as it is known to children’s social care. If you are not the social worker or foster carer of the child or young person, you should gather key information about the child or young person which will help inform how you approach each theme.
By exploring some of the following questions, you can begin to develop a picture of the child and how they navigate the world within the family and within the community. Some of these questions will also provide an insight into the behaviour, emotions and actions of the child or young person. By building a picture of them you will develop an awareness and appreciation of the situation you are going to be engaged with.
Questions you could ask the appropriate person could include:
• How long have they lived in their current home?
• Who do they live with?
• Why do they live here (if in care)?
• What is the legal status (if in care)?
• Who is their family and who do they keep in touch with?
• What do they enjoy doing?
• What interests do they have?
• What (if any) disabilities do they have and what does this mean for them?
• What special needs need to be accounted for?
• How do they like to communicate – anything I should know about this?
• What worries do you have about the child?
• What else should I be aware of?
3. Carry out a ‘hello visit’.
If you are not familiar with the child or young person who you are supporting through All About Me, you should organise an introduction visit where you can ask if they have any questions, worries or concerns, and agree on a venue for the sessions and a time of day that is suitable.
Playing Jenga is an accessible play-based communication and assessment tool that can be used in many creative ways, including during a ‘hello visit’. Take a look at our suggested Jenga Games here.
4. Develop an All About Me activity plan
Every child is different. All About Me direct work will be flexible and will be completed at times that work for children. Work out a plan with the child (and their carer) that you both agree.
Your All About Me resource pack
Develop an All About Me resource pack – a pack of resources such as stationery, games and online resources to use. We recommend including the following:
- A pack of Feelings Cards. You might find it helpful to have one for yourself and one per child/young person. Download our Creative Life Story Work Feelings Cards here.
- A Jenga style game. There are many different ones you can buy, as well as the Jenga brand itself; Tumbling Towers and similar are great value and well made.
- A good set of coloured pens and pencils. Crayola are washable when colours go on tablecloths or walls!
- A pad of blank paper. This could be A4, but A3 is better so that you have more space for creative expression.
- Post-it notes and stickers are a brilliant piece of stationery for an All About Me resource pack. They allow for ideas and immediate feelings and thoughts to be put down. This might be in response to questions and statements, or recognising important observations. By using post-it notes and stickers (such as horses, shapes, Fortnite and stars), it can encourage engagement and add interest and colour to the creative recording.
- Animal figures and cars are useful ways of encouraging play. Children could identify those around them by choosing an animal to represent them, and the animal becomes a way to explore behaviour, relationships and scene-setting of family and school. Cars are great to explore who might be in the cars, where they are going and how they got there, so as a narrative tool the child can play out their understanding.
Stencils, pencils and colouring books should be suitable for the age of the child. Therapy colouring sheets are more complex pictures that focus the mind and so calm young people. Many of these resources can be found here.
Finally, we would recommend that your All About Me resource pack is placed in a themed container so that the child knows that they are the ‘tools’ they have access to for working on their story and theme.
Think, Feel, Do
‘Think, Feel, Do’ is a reflective process found in many different walks of life.
In All About Me, Think, Feel, Do is a systematic way of processing what has happened or what might happen. It can support children and young people to think through an action, consider how they feel about the situation, and finally, explore what their options are to respond. It can be very helpful in cause and effect thinking.
You can find out more about ‘Think Feel Do’ in this short video.
Want to access more resources and training on delivering All About Me direct work?
This resource was developed by Blue Cabin, Professor Richard Rose and South Tyneside Council.