A Swansea University graduate hopes her new children’s book will be the first in a series of resources aimed at taking young readers on sensory journey.
Author Harriet Beth Carr says techniques learned while studying for her master’s in Developmental and Therapeutic Play have been put into practice whilst writing The Mindful Walk: The Adventures of Wilbur-James & Mary.
Harriet, from Merthyr Tydfil said: “The story is based on my own two dogs and follows an adventure through a forest practising a commonly used mindfulness technique called sensory awareness.
“I learned about the part play can have in our development and retention of new skills so I wanted to create a story that would teach children a skill to improve their wellbeing but in a way that doesn’t feel like learning.“
Harriet says working in an unfulfilling office job gave her the incentive to go back to university to study something that would make a difference to people’s lives.
“When I came across the master’s at Swansea I knew it was exactly what I was looking for. I had an interest in the power of play and wanted to learn more about taking a playful approach in overall development, wellness and health.
“I loved my time on the course - the support from my tutors was fantastic, the content was so interesting and I developed a whole new perspective on play which I am now utilising in my own health and wellbeing business, The Kind Nest.
“I hope to be able to write more books and plan to go into schools to offer playful wellbeing sessions. I believe there has never been a more important time to prioritise wellness and kindness. “
Programme Manager and Senior Lecturer Dr Pete King said: “Play is a key way to support emotional health and wellbeing and ensuring a widespread understanding about the importance of play, in particular non-directive play practice was a driving force in developing our programme.
“Harriet’s book is a wonderful example of how our graduates put their knowledge of theory and research into practice.
“The programme has resulted in graduates securing a variety of roles such as providing developmental and therapeutic play provision for charitable organisations, in schools, hospitals, mental health care and within the prison service. Some have also developed their own therapeutic play services.”
Associate Professor Dr Justine Howard added: “Harriet’s master’s thesis extended what was already known about targeted animal therapy interventions and focused on the developmental and therapeutic benefits of the everyday interactions we have with our pets. Her passion is clear in the beautiful book she has produced.
“The pandemic means that now, more than ever, children’s emotional health and wellbeing is a central focus for practitioners and policy makers alike. Her book could not be more timely. We wish her every success and can’t wait to see new titles being added to the series.”