Communities for Children Facilitating Partners Evidence-based programme profiles

Seasons for Growth


Seasons for Growth

Target audience

Middle childhood (6-12 years)

CfC Objective

Early learning


Good Grief, MacKillop Family Services

Delivery Setting

School-based; community-based


An education program that builds the resilience and wellbeing of children who have recently experienced loss due to death, family separation or migration. Seasons for Growth aims to support young people to understand their feelings, help them develop skills for coping, restore self-confidence and educate them about the grief process. The program is underpinned by evidence about resilience, emotional competence and identity.

Delivered to

Children aged 6 – 18 who have experienced family loss or change.

Delivered by

Teachers, social workers, counselors, psychologists other professionals/para-professionals and volunteers endorsed by a school or agency.

Program Structure

Seasons for Growth is delivered to small groups of 4-7 children and facilitated by an adult ‘companion’. The program has four age levels: 6-8 years, 9-10 years, 11-12 years, and 13-18 years.

The program is offered over 8x40-50 minute sessions plus a celebration and reconnector session (held 6-8 weeks after completion). The structure of the program is based on the metaphor of four seasons reflecting Worden’s four stages of grief (2009).

Each session has a specific focus and session outcomes incorporate discussion, stories, drawing, role-play and guided meditation.


Participation in facilitator (‘companion’) training is required. Two day training workshops are held regularly across Australia:
A detailed facilitator manual and workbooks with structured session plans are available.

  • Training (includes program manual): $610

Phone: 02 8912 2700

Evaluation and effectiveness

The Centre for Children and Young People at Southern Cross University conducted an empowerment and participatory evaluation of the program in 2011 (Newell & Moss, 2011). Pre and post qualitative survey data was collected from across 57 Seasons for Growth groups in Australia, New Zealand and Scotland. The study included 239 children, 30 parents and 44 facilitators.

Responses from all groups (children, parents, companions) were positive with parent responses corroborating children’s views. Children reported very high levels of satisfaction and felt they could trust the group companion, felt supported, and felt they were able to safely express themselves. The majority of children and parents nominated a variety of ways that the program had helped them including:

  • building understanding and skills;
  • improving emotional wellbeing;
  • enabling participants to express themselves; and
  • strengthening participants social and support networks.

Pre and post testing results showed statistically significant improvements in:

  • children’s emotional literacy;
  • their understandings of grief/change (eg. recognizing that ‘its ok to cry when you’re sad’);
  • emotional wellbeing; and
  • ability to express their views/feelings.

Newell, S., & Moss, A. (2011). Supporting children and young people through change, loss and grief: an evaluation of the Seasons for Growth program. Southern Cross University: Centre for Children and Young People.