Why did you decide to train in Seasons for Growth? 

We had heard some really good things about the Seasons for Growth training, so when we were given the option to do it, we jumped at the idea. We had seen a huge need to provide our students with extra support, especially as three children lost very close relatives during the year. We were surprised to learn how easy, comprehensive and straightforward the process was. We couldn’t wait to get back to our school and get started. 

Any highlights of Companioning that you would like to share? 

Our first group was made up of senior students from our school. Our group began with seven students and finished with five - we found that the students stayed in the group for as much as they were ready for. We had been working individually with most of them over the years and, despite all the one-on-one work we had done with these students, we could not have anticipated the power of the group dynamic and the impact that it had on each of the students within the group.  

Students admitted to saying things in the group that they had not spoken out loud to anyone.  

They admitted to feeling safe and heard, not feeling like they were alone anymore and, that they had time to process and express their emotions. They spoke about the connections made within the group, which they believe will be lifelong associations. 

Any special stories that you would like to share? 

Through the use of the group work and the metaphor of the seasons, our students were able to articulate some of their thoughts and feelings to their friends and family. They felt so comfortable with their thoughts and feelings about grief that our senior students volunteered to speak to our junior students at their Seasons for Growth information session. It was at this session that we, as Companions, could clearly see how far these students had progressed and how much they had grown through the process. It was a proud moment. 

Any advice for other Companions? 

Our advice to anyone working with senior students would be to take time with the enrolment process, allow the students to choose to be there. This helps them form respect and trust in you as Companions. We will continue to use the Seasons for Growth program in our school as a powerful process in students’ journey through loss and change.