Centennial Christian School’s music therapy program consists of six one to one half hour sessions and one full hour session weekly. Some of the students are accompanied by an Education Assistant in the session. Music Therapy is also part of the planning process during Individual education planning meetings.
The students who receive music therapy at CCS range from kindergarten to grade nine. The program supports children with speech delays/disorders, behavioral challenges, autism, OCD, ADHD, anxiety, grief, varying genetic and other disorders resulting in developmental delay.
How does Music Therapy uniquely address the needs of clients at Centennial Christian?
Music Therapy is a part of a student’s day that is quite different from the rest. It is 30-60 minutes of one to one time with music activities specifically tailored to who they are, what they enjoy and the music they love. The personalized sessions use the student’s gifts, strengths, interests and talents to stretch and strengthen different targeted areas.
How has COVID-19 impacted the program?
Initially everything was suspended due to covid. This meant that 14 weeks of 7 weekly music therapy sessions were cancelled. One student resumed sessions via telehealth from the middle of May until the end of June.
It had been a tough year for Stewart and his family. The death of a loved one left everyone struck with grief in ways that were unique to each of them. For Stewart, some of the ways grief left its mark was increased anxiety and pronounced sensory sensitivities. This made school a challenging place to be.
Stewart also has incredible musical talent, creativity and an imagination that has left many in awe. Music therapy was a very natural fit for Stewart and with the help of Music Heals he was able to have weekly sessions both before and during Covid.
Before Stewart’s sessions initially began, his parents shared that he struggled with any ‘sad’ emotions; whether it was a song that sounded sad, a family member expressing sadness or viewing a sad scene in a movie. During the music therapy sessions, Stewart created a ‘fictional’ story about a character who went through some tough stuff at school. Using the Bandwagon mobile recording studio, he created a soundtrack for the story that sounded happy, sad, mad and anxious. Later he requested narrating the story with the music he created. While narrating, he worked through many of the emotions that were previously avoided. The new comfort of exploring and expressing emotions continued through Covid. With telehealth music therapy sessions Stewart wrote a rap about his anxieties around the pandemic. With support from the music therapists, he had an opportunity to work on the rap with his parents; talking through and expressing his experience, fears and hopes.