Kate Middleton has had a very busy weekend indeed. On Friday she attended a special performance of the C S Lewis classic The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. It was all in aid of her charity the Art Room, which offers art therapy to children who suffer from emotional and behavioral difficulties .
Kate became Royal Patron of the charity in January and was seen painting with the children in February. The Art Room is a school program run by Julie Beattie. The founder of the program is a remarkable woman, at 64 she is the director of the charity, The Art Room has grown in scope for over a decade and made worldwide news when the Duchess Of Cambridge chose it as one of her six charities for patronage.
Today the active Duchess will visit Kent where she will join disadvantaged children at an outdoor activities centre. The course is run by Widehorizons Outdoor Education Trust, which provides new outdoor experiences for young people at its five centres across the UK. The Duchess will watch the children build shelters and campfires at the Margaret McMillan House, near Wrotham. Many of the kids attend the King Solomon Academy in London, and the trip will be the first time they have experienced the countryside or stayed away from home over night. The school is based North Westminster, an area where 70% of under-15s live in unemployed households. The academy is supported by ARK Schools and is backed by Prince William and Prince Harry’s foundation. During the 3 day camp the children, aged 8 and 9, will rough it in teepees and take part in group exercises and survival challenges.
The main focus of The Art Room is to help kids from disadvantaged backgrounds deal with behavioral problems through creating art. The project is a pioneering charity based at Oxford Spires Academy. Its first satellite was at Rose Hill Primary School (Pippa’s Room) Oxford. The second is at Orchard Meadow Primary school in Oxford and the third is at Robert Blair Primary School in Islington, London. The Art Room works with the children to increase their self-esteem, self-confidence and independence through art. They offer ‘art as therapy’ using art to raise their self-esteem, self-confidence and independence. Many are disengaged from mainstream education, and withdrawn, all have been identified as needing special time away from their school. Some of the students may have specific learning difficulties or have had an interrupted education. Some have recently arrived in this country, some are prime carers within their family, others are ‘looked-after’ children (children in care). The methodology of The Art Room goes above and beyond using art as a vehicle for educational therapy. The emphasis is on teaching life skills while encouraging the children and young people to both relate and engage with each other. The Art Room has proved to be extremely successful in providing the support needed to help children /young people with emotional and behavioural difficulties. The Art Room celebrated its 10th anniversary in March.