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Left-behind Children toolkits and communication p[atform in  2020

Within the previous experience and research, the project in 2020 tried to propose a more sustainable program on a wide scale to call for more people to help children in need with art therapy and creative activities.


At the same time, the project tried to approach these participatory art therapy activities that could be widely promoted as a part of the Chinese rural curriculum.


The project brochure was produced in collaboration with Wan Qian, an associate professor of child psychology at Tsinghua University.


Participatory art therapy toolkits


Self-awareness cards-which one is you & A set of 6 different themes of art therapy activity instruction manuals from different six perspectives and themes designed for left-behind children. With different activities, organizers ( such as rural teachers, volunteers, and children experts) could choose various tools according to children's varying situations.

Knowledge exchange workshops and communication channel

Regular art activity toolkits knowledge exchanging workshops between village schools and urban schools allow teachers to share resources. 


Online communication groups provided for all the stakeholders to support each other. Plus, rural teachers can get more help from the outside world through the channel.


Service design, Inclusive Education,  Child Poverty, Design politics, Social Change, Social Justice

Research Methods:

Participatory Research
Experimental Research
Field Studies
Case Study
Stereotype Research


Research Locations:

  1. Liji Primary School, Huangpi District, Wuhan

  2. Sunners (An NGO)

  3. Wuhan University, Mapping Community

The Family Sculpture Activity

The Family Sculpture exercise is a popular art therapy activity in many other therapy types, such as family therapy, though in a modified form.


It is enlightening for clients to mould their family to represent the members and the dynamics, and it helps them identify problems in relationships that otherwise might be ignored. 


One of the children was autistic and the process of carrying out the activities clearly showed that the child was significantly more willing to communicate through the activity.


This time working with Sunners, we invited four parents to come back home with five left-behind children in the local community.


It is a great activity to be with children and parents, where family dynamics and relationships are more ingrained, to bring awareness to how these things impact our thought processes.


How the Workshop

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Photos from the workshop


Words to Live By Collage

The collaborative workshop in rural primary school at Liji hopes to discover and create with children together through participatory activities.


At the same time, the relaxed atmosphere created by the activities helps children let go of their guards and open their hearts during the process and further discover problems.

The Workshop Agenda

A little more thoughts of the research in 2020

As a part of Chinese rural
curriculum in inclusive education filed

Find out more about the 2020 study by contacting me freely.

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The core of the project can be summarized by two keywords, i.e., healing and connection.


Instead of thinking about developing the project based on a very high point, the research outcomes intend to think about starting with a small point under the premise of the complete system; then, it gradually promotes the development of research to real step by step. It began with a small seed with hope, kept growing and thriving into a towering tree, and the forest ultimately, that's what I expected.


Therefore, the research will continue to improve the art therapy toolkits with more people, absorb more exciting art activities, and make more creative guidebooks for more people to use. Then, the research will promote these activities to more places, such as rural primary schools, charities, social contact, urban communities, and mass media.


After implementing the toolkits and channels in different places, more and more people will feel the faith the project holds on to. More and more people are rural left-behind children, and rural teachers, volunteers, and charity staff can be healed and educated by activities.


As Mr. Shen, the director of Sunners, said after finishing the family sculpture with me: "Actually, the activity not only heals children but also heals our volunteers. We even can carry out some art theory activities for adults". That's true, and I always believe that healing works both ways - when we are healing children, we are also being healed by them.

At the same time, the research also tries to hold workshops between urban and rural primary schools on a regular basis; the workshop can also carry online. If conditions permit, offline exchange and communication can also be a choice. Holding workshops help urban and rural teachers and schools share resources, which also contributes to the synchronization of educational resources and knowledge between rural teachers and rural schools with external forces' help.


The research also aims to make progress on inclusive education, and also impacted influences to the public. Hope to raise funds and promote them to the local government, socially caring people, and charities to support the further improvement and expansion of the service with these achievements.

In another aspect, the research was also thinking about another possibility - these participatory art therapy activities could be widely promoted as a part of the Chinese rural curriculum.

As a result, the toolkit, which is used to help rural teachers develop positive communication with at-risk rural children, is now being used in two rural primary schools and one charity in China.


I believe that with the help of external forces, including professional child psychologists, caring social people of significant influence, support of related educational departments, which is also a very possible and meaningful way to go. On the other hand, it also means that the project needs professional support's participation and guidance.


Indeed, I hold the firm belief that everything is possible, especially for our children.

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