My name is Talia Safra and I am the founder and Head of the Educational Clowning Center.
I am one of the medical clowning pioneers in Israel, a medical clown for over 16 years with the Dream Doctors project, and a clowning instructor at the Kibbutzim College of Education, Technology and the Arts for over 18 years. I hold a Master’s degree in theater directing from Middlesex University London. Before founding the Educational Clowning Center, I developed a therapeutic methodology of clowning for youth and children with mental illness. Moreover, worked as a therapeutic clown in the field of mental health for over a decade.
From the experience I have gained in both hospitals and mental health clinics, I know that when a child meets a clown, a healing encounter happens through which he can become stronger, be free, and be confident in expressing his desires and asking questions.
From this experience, we began to build our model at the Educational Clowning Center. In the process of creating the model, we thought: why would a child meet a therapeutic clown only when he is ill? What about the daily life of every boy and girl?
They also need a hug, laughter. They also can find strengths and benefits in encounters with the clown. They also need to be empowered
We believe that every child who goes to school every morning, who needs to get up on time, face the demands and pressures of the system, the social needs and pressures, the physical changes, etc., needs a supportive, stimulating, intriguing figure that reflects a fresh and dynamic perspective, That
allows the child to experience a wide range of feelings and ways to deal with ‘schooling”, that is free to meet the child where he is at and not only where he supposed to be. The clown is an adult that still hears and understands his inner child. That he has the professional knowledge and experience of a therapeutic clown and professional training of an educational clown. Training that gives him knowledge and tools in the world of education, school, and experience in empowering students and teachers in the social and emotional field.
Based on these thoughts, we started entering schools.
We started as a pilot with only two schools; today we operate in dozens of schools all over the country.
From elementary schools to high schools, in all sectors of society, for all ages, and in many diverse educational programs tailored to the educational and organizational needs of schools.
The educational clown serves as an additional hand to the educational staff and helps in addressing the emotional, social, developmental and mental needs of the students. From his unprecedented role in school (he is neither a student nor a teacher) he is able to tackle any situation. He is in places where fights develop, in corners where friendships fall apart, on a bench to which a student escapes from class and sits angry at himself or others.
The educational clown is a bridge for the child in a reality filled with confusion, stress and conflicts like school.
It is an anchor to which the child is attached, in order to find order in this reality and a bridge between him and those around him.
The clown connects the world of adults and the world of children with optimism and laughter. He creates movement, mentally and emotionally, both in the world of children and in the world of adults in school.
The educational clown does not come to hold a party, but he certainly uses humor. By virtue of being a clown, he sees everyone and everything. When a clown enters the classroom for a few minutes, he makes the teacher and students breathe together and laugh together. He puts breathing and personal involvement into the material being studied, dances into pre-exam moments of tension.
He allows everyone present in the room to be for a moment equal human beings who meet through humor. Such a move allows for to learning that was not there before. When it’s over, the clown leaves the classroom and leaves behind a relaxed, happy atmosphere, ready to face the learning challenge.
The educational clown is in the school hallways and helps wandering students find themselves along with him in a creative, respectful, curious and inclusive meeting. The educational clown allows students to stop for a moment, to create for a moment an alternative, unique reality that sheds light on their positive and creative powers and allows them to feel visible, feel pleasure and motivation and then they return to class and if necessary, the educational clown accompanies them to their chair.
Receive daily reports in which the educational clown sends daily reports to the staff at the school on the students with whom he worked, on the content of the encounter and on his thoughts and plans for the duration of the encounters with that student.
This information allows the school staff to see the student from a point of view that is not usually possible due to the different status from that of the educational clown.
This new perspective contributes greatly to the continuation of the joint work with those students.
The educational clown meets with the school counselor and the educators for joint thinking sessions about the students and ways to better and help them both emotionally-socially and academically.
The various programs we offer are suitable for all ages and all sectors.
To the prevailing question of whether cloning is not just an elementary school for children, from our experience in the field, being a clown with youth provides an answer to all areas in which teens are engaged: social pressures leading to vulnerability, gender and gender questions, developmental changes, self-image, society views, desires, dreams, and self-confidence. All of these are present in the encounter between the youth and the educational clowns.
Because the educational clown is not part of the school’s accepted and familiar hierarchy, students feel an immediate closeness to it, both because of the curiosity it arouses and because of a deep need for interpersonal contact.
The educational clown is everywhere and in every situation. He listens, and sensitively lowers tensions, ventilates anger and allows masks to be taken off. In this way, he allows the student to see things with more simplicity and humor. The students’ encounter with these parts within them is powerful and valuable for them and strengthens their confidence and ability to cope.
We invite you to join us in taking part in the educational and significant work in your school through the variety of educational programs of the Educational Clowning Center by Talia Safra’s method. Tell us what the needs and struggles of the school are, and we will tailor a personalized program for you, based on those needs