9Nana's Mission includes the following: 1. Delivery of free mental health services to students within the school setting in the form of individual, or group Play Therapy.2. Provision of teacher training on how to work effectively with students and address the burn out factor that comes from working with this population.3. Conducting of research to evaluate and support the effectiveness of the programme.Children are referred to participate in Nana's PT program by teachers, parents, social workers and psychologists. At registration time for a new school year, packets are sent home containing consent forms for signature if the child either received services the previous year, or if a principal, social worker or psychologist feels this child would benefit from the service. Nana's MHF make a brief presentation on a parents' evening, whereby parents can ask questions, tour a playroom or discuss how their child might benefit from the service. Once a child has a signed consent form it remains valid for the entire school year, unless revoked by the guardian who originally signed it. Once requested with verified signed release, records can be sent to a new school or mental health provider.A typical PT session takes 30 minutes for an individual or an hour for a group of four students and two therapists. Whenever possible, Nana's build model play/observation rooms, where video cameras are set up and sessions can be recorded. When space is not available, practicum therapists visit school sites, with portable play cases.Playroom toys are arranged by themes, and are placed in shelves that are clearly labelled. Since disadvantaged children may have particular issues about lack of housing, lack of money, food/clothing etc., Nana's has developed a list of toys that are PrimaryPlay Therapy - A Proven Support continuedNCGE NEWS Winter 2011included in each 'playroom' or 'portable' in exactly the same place. During training, it is explained that toys have been selected for therapeutic value, to elicit and facilitate expression of emotions and conflict. Therapeutic play materials include a large number of 'families' of different ethnicities and age groups, different types of houses, cash register, sand table, art supplies, dress up clothes, pots, pans, play food items and rescue vehicles. Each theme is found in smaller amounts in the portable play bag, which can be used where a specific playroom is not available.
10Whole School ApproachBefore a school-based programme, such as Nana's, can be implemented, careful consideration must be given to how the programme will fit into the school's culture. Educating the educators is a priority so that school personnel can understand how mental health services relate to a child's successful education and the therapeutic value of play. An important aspect of Nana's mission, as well as that of anyone modelling this programme, is in making presentations to not only the Local Education Agencies (LEAs) in charge of homeless education for the State, but also to District Administrators, Boards, Principals, designated liaisons, teachers and staff. While respecting the need to maintain confidentiality, the play therapists within Nana's Model assess children in the playroom, so when the Individual Education Plan for each student is put together, the Nana's Clinicians participate in the meeting and make recommendations as to how best to serve the educational/emotional needs of the student. This further reflects the effectiveness of the whole school approach, whereby all relevant stakeholders work together, combining the various areas of expertise, in the interest of the child. By law, School Districts must only allow evidenced based counselling programs in their schools to take place. From the outset, Nana's have conducted studies, supporting the efficacy of the programme. While it can be challenging conducting scientific research with a treatment group, control group and a group that received other type of counselling by non- play therapists (such as anger management) large amounts of clinical records/art production and tapes sessions have been collated. A longitudinal study where Boxall Profile outcomes of Nana's clients administered in different settings (classroom, lunch room, play room, play yard) were collated. Details are available in 'The effectiveness of child-centred play therapy on developmental and diagnostic factors in children who are homeless', Baggerly J. & Jenkins, W. (2009).TrainingIn order to train as a Play Therapist, a minimum of a Masters Degree in Counselling, Psychology or Social Work along with 2000 hours of supervision (including 50 by a registered play therapist) are required. Currently, there are in the region of 5000 registered play therapists in the US, with Associations for Play Therapy in Canada, Mexico, Argentina and Japan. PrimaryPlay Therapy - A Proven Support continuedNCGE NEWS Winter 2011