Kate says, 'I stumbled across the postgraduate course at Whitecliffe, an arts college, while I was doing my bachelor's degree in Visual Arts and was excited by the prospect of combining my two passions'. She enrolled in the one year post graduate diploma, which led into two years of the Master of Arts in Arts Therapy (Clinical) programme. Arts therapy students usually come from one of two areas of interest, either social work or the arts side, and any arts modality is welcome. As Kate began looking for non-paid placements through her Arts Therapy study in 2019, she once again sought out the Champion Centre.
Kate started at the Champion Centre as a student intern in the second half of year two of her training and extended it for a further six months. She spent one day each week working alongside the therapists, half of her time in the playroom and the other half in the music room. 'In the music sessions we used a lot of movement with organza ribbon sticks, creating visual imagery to the musical patterns. I worked with music specialist Julie Wylie and have learnt so much from her. In the playroom we explored sensory play with sand, rice or water, allowing connections to be created between the child and their body. We also explored both the doodle boards and paints and created pictures through their creative imagination', Kate explains.
A highlight was when she was working with a child who has a diagnosis of autism. The child made eye contact with her for the first time and it was these small but significant moments that were so special for Kate. Kate finishes her masters' degree at the end of this year and would love to keep working with children in the disability or mental health sector.
Kate Willis' artwork at www.katewillisartist.com
The Champion Centre is administered by the Christchurch Early Intervention Trust, and is registered with the Chartities Commission (CC22708). Gifts of over $5 are eligible for tax rebates.
© 2019 The Champion Centre