This research project will evaluate an established school-based visual arts program (ELVA: Enhancing Emotional Literacy through Visual Arts) that aims to promote resilience amongst children and is being piloted in bushfire affected or schools at risk of critical incidents. Evaluation of the pilot program will contribute to knowledge about ELVA’s application in environments of trauma risk, and in the post-disaster context. It may also provide a foundation for the program to be distributed more widely to create supportive environments for Victorian children.

The Jack Brockhoff Child & Wellbeing program- Art for resilience from Brockhoff Child Health Program on Vimeo.

Project Summary

Disasters such as the Black Saturday bushfires experienced in 2009 are known to produce ongoing family, school, and community level impacts that can significantly undermine the current and ongoing emotional and psychological wellbeing of children (Bryant et al., 2014). While in the immediate aftermath of a disaster communities are often well supported, over time this support diminishes. As such, there is very little evidence about what factors may promote health and wellbeing amongst children in the medium to long term post disaster context (Masten & Narayan, 2012).

Emotional literacy may play an important role in emotional and psychological wellbeing, and may therefore be a relevant influence on wellbeing following disasters. ELVA is a program designed to enhance emotional literacy in school aged children through the employment of creativity, specifically in the domain of visual arts. The program is appropriate for children aged preschool to grade 6 and is designed to be integrated into the children’s visual arts program.

The program integrates psychodynamic, neuroscientific, and developmental perspectives, and has been developed to aid children in recognising, expressing, understanding, and responding to their own and others’ emotions. It is believed that this ultimately serves to strengthen children’s mental health through management of emotions, the creation of safe and contained learning environments, and the increased capacity of teachers to engage with their students.


Insurance Australia Group (IAG)

Smouldering Stump

Project Team

Contact Name
Robyn Molyneaux