Bridgepath theoretical underpinning is guided by the developmental–ecological theory, which asserts the importance of supporting children’s acquisition of age-appropriate competencies within relevant social context (Poulou, 2015). It is of vital importance that children receive the same message at home, in school and within the community. Thus, parents, students and teachers are encouraged to participate in this program, its evaluation and intervention models.
Transformation is the act of changing in form, nature or character. It is a process in which we learn something new or are so affected by an event or a conversation that our own selves are no longer the same. As the caterpillar needs its cocoon to transform, we humans need special kinds of environments, cocoons of sorts to enable and support our natural evolution. Within these environments, facilitators model constancy in relationship building, instill a feeling of safety, freedom and challenge in order to allow the child, caregivers and teachers to discover and embrace their authentic self (Cope, 2000). Transformational spaces create a feeling of refuge, encourage creativity and experimentation with non-attachment to outcomes, rather the emphasis is the process. Through these transformational spaces, children, parents or caregivers as well as teachers are able to explore aspects of themselves often neglected due to the increasingly demanding, rushed and hectic lifestyles. Bridgepath creates these transformational environments for students, parents/caregivers and teachers.
Creative Arts and Play Therapy
The four principles of creative arts play therapy are:
Empowerment: the early childhood curriculum empowers the child.
Holistic development: the early childhood curriculum reflects the holistic way children learn and grow.
Family and community: the wider world of family and community is an integral part of childhood and
Relationships: children learn through responsive and reciprocal relationships between people, places and things.
Through the creative arts and play process children build skills and learn about their world. They practice making intelligent use of past experience to formulate a plan of action, reflecting on action, noticing causes and effects and the use of metacognitive skills and strategies. It also incorporates communicating through written and spoken language, verbal and nonverbal communication. Children gain valuable insight into their attitudes and dispositions such as curiosity, motivation, willingness to take risks; ability to struggle, and cope with challenge and failure; perseverance, resilience, self-efficacy.
Mindfulness and Movement Through Yoga
The typical foundation of mindfulness-based curricula for Pre K- 12th grade students includes age-appropriate mind–body practices that aim to increase focused attention, social
competencies, emotional intelligence and self-regulation. Curricula lessons that target awareness of inner/outer experiences include: focused attention on breath and sensory experiences; awareness of thoughts and emotions; movement practices; and non-judgemental, caring or kindness practices. Skills are learned over time, and the intention is that, through sustained practice, mindful awareness becomes a positive way of being in the world for students—whether learning and interacting at school, at home, or in the community (Meiklejohn, 2012). The programs are taught by experienced yoga instructors.
There is increasing evidence that teaching parents new parenting skills, tailored to the child’s needs is a successful intervention for early conduct problems. Training programmes must help parents in reducing personal stress, as well as negative parenting practices (Poulou, 2015). Bridgepaths programs aims at educating parent on children’s emotional behavioral disorders (EBD) and best practice approach.
The Bridgepath model encompases parent skills pshychoeducational workshops, mindfulness, yoga and movement.
When working with the teachers the Bridgepath model supports them in self-care and self-compassion and self-awareness through mindfulness, movement and yoga practices. We share with educators information on emotional behavioral disorder (EBD) and their manifestations as perceptions of emotional and behavioural difficulties are of significant importance for three reasons: First, teachers’ judgments of children with emotional and behavioural difficulties influence their developmental outcomes in later life. Secondly, teachers’ perceptions and interpretations of children’s behaviour are connected to teachers’ behaviour toward the children. Thirdly, teacher–child relationships have been shown to be more predictive of children’s positive outcomes. In early education, negative teacher–child relationships have been linked to poor behavioral and academic outcomes for young children and negative attitudes about the school setting. Conflict in the teacher– child relationship contributed to faster growth in externalizing behaviour from kindergarten to third grade, and decreases in children’s prosocial behaviour from kindergarten to first grade. On the contrary, children with high levels of initial aggression, those who were provided greater teacher support exhibited the largest declines in aggression across the early school years (Poulou, 2015).