Newell, S & Moss, A 2011, Supporting children and young people through change, loss and grief: an evaluation of the Seasons for Growth program, report prepared for Good Grief (Australia), Sydney, NSW.
Seasons for Growth (SfG) is a grief and loss education program which aims to promote the social and emotional wellbeing of children and young people (aged 6-18 years) who have experienced significant change in their lives, usually as a result of death, separation or divorce. The SfG program is unique in terms of a) its theoretical orientation in weaving interdisciplinary understandings of childhood development with Worden’s grief theory; b) the program structure and educational processes it engages, across five age-tailored levels, so as to maximise children’s participation; c) the variations in the way it can be implemented in different contexts; and d) the considerable length of time the program has remained in demand. To date, over 150,000 children and young people across five countries have participated in the program.
This evaluation has found that the SfG program is very well received and highly valued, by participating children and young people, their parents and the Companions leading the SfG groups. The program successfully addresses an increasingly common area of need by effectively supporting children and young people through times of change, loss and grief. More specifically, the SfG program has been shown to build participants’ understanding and skills, to enhance their emotional wellbeing, to enable them to express their views, thoughts and feelings and to strengthen their social and support networks. These benefits were evident and consistent across a range of quantitative and qualitative data collected from participating children and young people, their families and Companions. Confidence in the findings is further strengthened by the very high response and consent rates achieved from group participants and Companions.