IFF’s Kitbag at Children 1st

At Children 1st we focus on building strong relationships with the children and families we support, based on understanding, compassion and respect.

A resource that helps with this is the IFF Kitbag, introduced as a result of our partnership with IFF (International Futures Forum), who developed it. Kitbag is a collection of items packed carefully in an attractive cloth roll bag and tied with a ribbon. Children unwrap it to find items including sets of cards, soft finger puppets – a much loved wolf and robin, calming oil (containing lavender and other natural oils), a beautifully crafted wooden ‘Talking stick’ which allows the speaker to be heard with respect and other thoughtfully developed items including a set of mindful actions and a one-minute timer to help with these. Kitbag is for all the senses and has expert scientific thinking behind it to help users regain confidence, feel calm and develop resilience, all in a safe space and without pressure.

Compassion and confidence

All of the materials within Kitbag are there to help children to talk about and understand how they feel, to recognise strengths and to promote compassion and self-confidence.

The results speak for themselves. Children who have used Kitbag in school settings are shown to grow in self-confidence and in their ability to interact with peers. Teachers notice how they begin to value themselves more. When introduced to a family there have been gentle changes for the better, as family members learn to respect each others’ feelings.

Kitbag is now in use in many schools, mainly in Fife where it originated, but also in Glasgow and Edinburgh and in other parts of Scotland.

Many of the outcomes from Kitbag use resonate with the aims of the Scottish Government as part of its drive to close the educational attainment gap. To date, the Government’s policy focus has centred on increased testing of pupils and changes to school structures and funding but working with Kitbag offers a different way towards achieving their goals.

School children have demonstrated the use of Kitbag to MSPs from the Scottish Government’s Skills & Education committee, all of whom were interested in its potential and encouraged its use by schools and families.