May 21, 2017

How does it work?

DIRT GROUP is a trauma-informed children’s mental health application based in social and emotional learning in the context of a gardening/farming/food/nature-based/and creative arts project. Through the use of five major theory applications, DIRT GROUP participants engage in experiential opportunities in the greenhouse, gardens, kitchen, and the community to learning, practicing, and mastering important social skills which prepare them for life. Turning capacity into competency by learning to follow instructions the first time asked, cooperate with others, use an appropriate voice tone, choosing appropriate words to say, complying with reasonable requests, dealing with frustration, accepting “no” for an answer, disagreeing appropriately, demonstrating sensitivity to others, etc. Through these intentional and redundant skills training opportunities, DIRT GROUP participants also experience pride and ownership in growing food and through creative arts projects together in making a difference in other people’s lives through contribution and stewardship opportunities within their communities. DIRT GROUP also provides a safe and cohesive social context which fosters social inclusion and positive identity formation. DIRT GROUP is grounded and informed by four major theories: experiential learning, social learning, symbolic interactionism, strength-based, and ecological systems theories.