Ciara is a qualified Primary School Teacher who specialises in children’s social and emotional well being. Ciara offers one-to-one and group session for young children.
She supports individuals with behavioural issues and helps all children to understand their emotions, engage with others and develop their self-esteem.
During her four year degree in Education, Ciara selected modules based around special needs in the mainstream setting and completed her dissertation on Social and Emotional Behavioural Difficulties. She graduated with a first class honours from St. Mary’s University College, Queens in 2013 and has worked for six years in P1 and P2.
Weekly, the children in her school participate in the Sesame Tree programme, circle time activities, exploring books (e.g. how are you peeling?- foods with moods) and using visuals e.g. Velcro feelings chart). Ciara implements strategies from the Incredible Years Programme and uses puppets to help children empathise as a stepping stone to developing their awareness of how others feel. The ‘Tucker Turtle’ social story outlines a step-by-step guide to help children self-regulate when they are feeling upset.
Ciara also acts as a support teacher for children with Social and Emotional Behavioural Difficulties and takes weekly sessions in a small group setting. They engage in mindfulness activities (e.g. ‘zen den’, ‘cosmic kids’), express their feelings through sensory exploration (e.g. moh-doh), explore colour therapy (through e.g. sponge painting) and use affirmations to develop positive self-talk. Ciara works alongside other class teachers to employ strategies for these children to help them deal with their emotions e.g. blowing bubbles to burst anger in tummy, using a ‘I need a break’ card, having chill-out time in a blackout tent.
Ciara believes that Personal Development and Mutual Understanding is at the core of the curriculum as “unless children believe in themselves and that they are likeable, they will not commit to any type of learning.” (Elizabeth Hartley-Brewer). Therefore, she aims to encourage children to express themselves and develop the language and understanding to discuss how they are feeling. She believes children should be taught to boost their self-confidence, self-regulate their emotions, maintain lasting relationships, deal with conflict management, cope with everyday stress and develop self-control.
Ciara volunteers in Glenveagh and Mitchell House Special School Summer Schemes and has worked alongside a music therapist. She travelled to Romania with STAR (Summer Team Aid Romania) to work in Special Needs orphanages. In her spare time Ciara loves taking part in Musicals and playing the harp and flute at weddings.
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