COLUMBIA — Rainbow House will start a new seven-week program, the Safety First Play Therapy Group, on Monday.
According to the Rainbow House website, the group targets children ages 4 to 6 “whose parents are concerned about their sexual behaviors.”
“That can range anywhere from kids that have experienced abuse or are sexually acting out to kids who need to learn more about their bodies and boundaries,” said Andrea Shaw, Child Advocacy Center clinical coordinator at Rainbow House.
The program includes sessions on safe and unsafe touch, secrets, boundaries, empathy and body safety in general, Shaw said. Typical activities include movies, games, painting and drawing.
“We try to get the kids engaged in learning in a really fun and age appropriate way,” Shaw said. “The class is playful in nature but still talks about serious subjects. We are engaging them in the topics through play.”
The program is typically held at least once a year, Shaw said. Rainbow House also offers an accompanying class for parents.
“We cover the same topics but the parent side will focus more on how to handle their children's issues and sexually acting out behaviors, as well as how to deal with their own stress,” Shaw said.
The seven-week class is held Mondays from 5:15 p.m. to 6:15 p.m. at Rainbow House, 1611 Towne Drive.