The Sandcastles Program™
The Sandcastles Program™ is a three-and-a-half-hour, onetime group session for children of divorce between the ages of six and seventeen. The last half hour includes the children’s parents and focuses on improving communication between them.
The program was first instituted in Miami-Dade County, Florida, and is now mandatory there and in over a dozen other jurisdictions throughout the country. In these counties, no final divorce decree will be granted any couple whose minor children do not participate in the Sandcastles Program™.
As a result of meeting with peers who are going through a similar experience, kids usually emerge with a newfound sense of confidence, hope, and community. They realize that they are not alone, that it is normal to feel anxious, angry, sad, and confused.
Sandcastles uses a range of innovated techniques designed to help children:
- develop self-expression and problem-solving skills
- learn appropriate means of expressing anger and other intense emotions
- reach a better understanding of the reality of divorce
- recognize their own unique qualities and strengths
Each child receives an age-appropriate workbook, which he or she fills out anonymously. Kids are invited to draw pictures, write poems, compose letters to their parents, answer questions about heir divorce experience, and more. In addition to writing and drawing, the participants are guided in such activities as role-playing, discussion, and interviewing fellow group members. In the last half-hour, parents together with their children learn techniques for interacting and expressing their feelings about divorce. At the end of each session, participants complete a written evaluation of their Sandcastles experience, as do their parents, in a follow-up questionnaire completed afterward.
Click here to learn more about the Sandcastles Workbooks.
To contact Gary and find out more about the Sandcastles Program™, send an email to him at email@example.com