Seiler Consultancy Ltd
Independent Social Work Assessments and Services

Enhancing Communication with Children

Using Miniature Animals in Social Work Assessments

About this workshop

In this workshop social workers are introduced to the ways in which miniature animals can be used to enhance effective communication with children.

The tool has been developed in response to findings by Professor Eileen Munro and her review of England’s child protection. In her review, Ms Munro highlights that many ‘social workers lack the training and tools necessary to develop productive relationships with the children they should be protecting’*.

Drawing on systemic and integrative approaches as well as European traditions of social pedagogy, we have developed an effective tool that can be used by social workers to

  • Assess children and families; and
  • Provide emotional support to children to help them deal with separation and loss, for example after being placed in care.

Benefits of working with miniature animals

The miniature animals are very versatile and can be employed to help children:

  • Express and label their feelings;
  • Explore and clarify conflicting feelings and emotions;
  • Explore family relationships and social networks;
  • Identify roles individuals adopt within family and social networks;
  • Recognise strengths and concerns within those networks;
  • Explore wishes and feelings in a non-threatening, playful & dynamic way;
  • Experiment with new behaviours.

How the workshop benefits social workers

  • It is time- and cost-efficient - The 90-minute workshop can be held at lunchtime and during team meetings. The workshop facilitator comes to your premises which means no time is lost due to participants travelling to and from the workshop venue;

  • Immediate impact on social work practice – After the workshop, social workers will be ready to use the tool. They will be equipped with the complete tool set and can use the booklet for further reference, tips and ideas to develop their practice as and when required;

  • Improves social workers’ communication and assessment skills and thus promotes child safety and family welfare - by giving social workers a tool that is creative and child-friendly. Children will be able to use a range of senses including sight, touch, hearing and motion and express themselves through narratives, play and imagination;

  • Workshop participants receive their personal tool set - a well-presented booklet with tips, ideas and example scenarios for future reference and their own set of animals which they can use in office sessions or on home visits

What the workshop covers

  • Understanding the way in which the miniature animals work: the power of symbols and play in communicating with children;
  • Understanding the range of uses for the miniature animals from initial and core assessments to therapeutic work with children;
  • Nurturing a dialogue with the child - example scenarios, questions to ask, examples of creative interviewing techniques: making the first steps and preparing social workers to use the miniature animals right after the workshop.

What professionals say about the 'Miniature Animals'

'The text of the booklet is very readable (…) I think the tool will be very useful for social workers.'
Dr Sue Chantrell, Executive Team Member of the International Attachment Network,

'Nadine Seiler has provided a powerful resource to enable the telling of clients’ inside stories through the distance of working through projected play (…) Seiler’s method is playful and fun for the child involved while providing both an assessment tool and a means of making a healthy, psyche-sensitive therapeutic intervention. The accompanying book offers clear and simple instructions (…) This is a very useful resource for therapists, social workers and health care professionals.'
Mary Smail, Director of the Sesame Institute for Drama and Movement Therapy,

I am impressed with the tool […]. The tool will be very beneficial to the social care field and will provide professionals with other dimensions of working, apart from just the use of policy and text book styles. The detail in the booklet is precise, descriptive and easy to follow.The use of photography is impressive (...).
Samantha Babb, Qualified Independent Social Worker and Drama and Film Writer,

‘As a social work practitioner within the Children and Families field I found the concept very innovative but equally simple and easy to follow. The accompanying booklet is extremely helpful, well structured and straightforward to use. I particularly liked the ‘Creative Activities’ section which offers examples of using the animals in order to explore various circumstances within a child’s life. This really is an exciting innovative and versatile toolkit which has a rightful place within the social sector.’
Catherine Jackson, Senior Social Worker at a Local Authority in Wales

Cost of the workshop

Each 90-minute workshop includes one complete tool set foreach participant**, a consultation with organiser and team leader, preparation of the workshop, facilitating the workshop as well as cost
and time of travel to venues in the Greater London area.

**Each tool set consists of 24 miniature animals in a handy cotton bag and a 75-page full-colour guide with lots of photos, example scenarios and ideas to support effective social work practice.

  • Greater London area - £60.00 per participant
  • Other parts of England & Wales - £80.00 per participant

max. 15 participants per workshop

Additional tool sets are provided at £29.90 per set (discounts for larger orders apply).

To find out more about the workshop, read case studies and testimonials please visit...

For more information or to book your workshop today, please contact Nadine or Mark.

Tel: 07808 704 134
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Tel: 07714 398 776
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*Community Care reports on 01/02/2011,, retrieved on 21 October 2011

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Original artwork by Marlena Napiorkowska, copyright Seiler Publishing Ltd

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