This Handbook responds to one of the most important needs in all the education systems, namely to the impact of negative learning gaps on students social behaviours.
The absence of parents, the faulty parent-child relationship, the traumatic experiences or accidental injuries suffered by children living in unsafe environments are all elements of a negative context. Its impact can be biological (low resistance to disease and/or effort), neurobiological (dominance of the ‘emotional’ brain when making decisions) and psychological (poorer cognitive and social skills than in other children, low stress tolerance, posttraumatic stress disorder). In addition, the absence of an important adult who would take over some of the parental protection, teaching and modelling functions over time increases the impact of the faulty environment in which children aged 0-7 grow up. During the school years most often children do not manage to fix the learning gaps caused by the absence of parent figures. This may lead to reduced interest in learning, poor academic performance and inability to grasp the new material.
The Handbook addresses the development needs of those children who have not had an appropriate learning environment to develop the basic skills for social behaviours. Its approach builds on the latest findings in psychology and neurobiology, which are complementary to the pedagogy methodologies.
The Handbook has two parts: one theoretical and one practical.
The first part makes a short description of the main theoretical elements of the programme concept and application. It should be noted that its structure, the requirements for the organization and running of the sessions, the focus on interactive techniques and exercises which derive from the experiences of art crafts (improvisation, motion or visual art exercises) respond to the subtle causalities revealed by the latest studies and theories in neurobiology and education sciences.
The practical part of the Handbook contains 20 session plans - each can be done in one or two sessions - and two Annexes. The first annex shows the structure of the complementary programme for adult support volunteers. The complementary programme is difficult to organize, but it brings much added value by responding to the acute need of the children at this age for models and to receive attention from adults in a two-way relationship, which offers constancy and safety to a much greater extent than in a group. When working in a group, the adult’s attention is always split and the young participants are in competition for it. The second annex is an assessment tool, which can be used by every professional implementing the programme and also for a comparative assessment of several groups.
The group programme for reducing pre-delinquent and criminal behaviours in children aged 10 – 13/14 has been drafted and published with the support of the “Trans-border cooperation for strengthening the prevention of juvenile delinquency/ crime in Moldova” Project, implemented by Terre des hommes-Moldova with the financial support of the Embassy of the Netherlands, as part of the MATRA Programme.