A Swallow Press Book
“Katherine Ziff shows a wonderful sense of how adults can positively impact children’s development through child-directed play. She effectively demonstrates the concepts, process, and materials for success and supports her model with research. Counselors, teachers, and parents can all benefit from this book.”
Richard J. Hazler, author of The Emerging Professional Counselor
“Katherine Ziff’s ArtBreak is an inspirational and informative book on the power of using the expressive arts with young children. Illustrated with colorful photos showing her principles in action, this text stands out as a practical and clearly written book on the importance of using art in classroom settings.”
Samuel T. Gladding, author of The Creative Arts in Counseling
“We don’t get told what to do, what to make. We have ideas.”
“I watch the clock all day, waiting for 2:30. That’s when I get to go to ArtBreak.”
Play is the central, universally significant activity of childhood. Self-directed play in which adults have a supporting rather than directing role is critical to the development and well-being of children. Yet as children have their days and nights increasingly scripted and planned for them, opportunities for play have disappeared over the last half century, especially in schools.
ArtBreak’s innovation lies in its creative framework. Former school counselor, current professor of counseling, and practicing artist Katherine Ziff developed and tested the program over five years, integrating theory and practice from art therapy, counseling, and child-centered education. The result is a choice-based, guided play experience based on the developmental and restorative possibilities of art making.
A detailed how-to guide, this book is the flexible and accessible toolbox that teachers, parents, and counselors need to facilitate relaxing, art-based play that allows children to freely explore, plan, and pursue their own interests with adult support. Easy to implement, ArtBreak can be added to the regular routines of classroom, home, therapy office, or other community setting at whatever scale suits space, time, and budget. No art training is required, only a willingness to embark on a play journey with children.
Katherine Ziff is an assistant professor in the department of counseling at Wake Forest University. A former school counselor, she has published in places such as the Journal of Creativity in Mental Health, the Journal for Specialists in Group Work, and History of Psychiatry. She presents workshops for counselors and educators on ArtBreak and is also an exhibiting artist.
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