Shadow Play-Empathy in Practice

Shadow Play-Empathy in Practice

United StatesUnited Kingdom
Project Stage:
$1,000 - $10,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

A commmunity education service with new, niche & savvy ideas to enable, empower & train people of all needs with skills to lead happier,healthier lives.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Children by their very nature can be simplistic and sometimes almost "cold" with each other. Bullying, bereavement, individuality, poverty & shyness can all exclude a child and make others reject or even bully them. I would like to increase understanding and empathy between children on topics like this and improve experiences for children in school so no child is unhappy, excluded, left out or lonely. Every child has a right to be different or to have space to go through crisis and no child should exclude them or make it even harder.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

I have designed a Shadow Activity based on role play. It takes 20 minutes and each child as about 10 minutes worth of reading/speaking. One person plays the "excluded" and the other plays the "excluder". they both read their characters in turn as though having a conversation but sharing feelings and thoughts at the same time. This simple, powerful activity is good for the audience to watch and learn from and excellent for the 2 participants as they FEEL what is happening and can learn understading and empathy from it. The activity can be limitless in that it can have many themes such as loss, poverty, race, bullying etc... I did something similar with a breast cancer story and adults and it tought the audience how to be breast cancer aware and I think it can work very well, or even better with exclusion, empathy and children as key themes.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

A child raises an isse around exclusion because their family is in poverty. The other children have stopped playing with him. The child is unhappy and already having problems at home and school is miserable for them. The child is 11 and that is a pretty tough age! The group who are excluding and almost bullying the other child is led by a girl. ( for example reasons) and she certainly leads the group to be excluding of the boy. The teacher knows this but is unsure how to tackle it. The root problem is a lack of empathy and understanding from the girl and her group. This group need an activity in empathy. The teacher chooses the "poverty" theme activity. She lets the boy in poverty play the excluder and the girl ( the bully) play the excluded.The role reversal is deliberate and an important part. Each child has a script, a chair and time together. the session can be in front of a group or simply 1-1 with a responsible adult ( mediator) present. The teacher decides this is delivcate and she goes with a private 1-1 session. The girl starts to read her script in stages. Event ( how the poverty started), the feelings ( how she feels) and the future ( what she would like to change) In between times the boy reads his 3 stages taking it in turns with the girl. He reads his assumptions ( why he excludes the girl) his feelings ( how he feels when he "bullies" the other party)& his future ( what he would like to change). Between them they share these feelings and outcomes and start ti understand & epathise with each other. The exclusion issue can be resolved this way.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

I am not sure who my competitors would be as this is a unique session. My only assumption is school counsellors and mediators may have developed something similar but not the same. There is space for this product as its cheap, simple and effective. Exclusion is such an issue and empathy is so rare in young children aged 4-12 that its a useful tool Competitors would not challenge me but they could be clients or users of the tool!
About You
The PlanB Partnership
About You
First Name


Last Name


About Your Organization
Organization Name

The PlanB Partnership

Organization Country
Country where this project is creating social impact
Your role in Education


The type of school(s) your solution is affiliated with

Public (tuition-free)

How long has your organization been operating?

1‐5 years

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How long has your solution been in operation?

Still in idea phase, but looking to launch soon

Now that you have thought out your entry, help us pitch it.
Define your company, program, service, or product in 1-2 short sentences [136 characters]

The Shadow Play activity enables children, encourages & empowers them with understanding & empathy to resolves typical excluson issues.

Identify what is innovative about your solution in 1-2 short sentences [136 characters]

It is extremely simple and cheap to develop & produce. Free training is provided. Children are active participants not audience members.

Social Impact
What has been the impact of your solution to date?

None so far as I have not piloted this activity exactly.

What is your projected impact over the next 1-3 years?

Every child will understand exclusion issues and reduce their own negative behavior around them. Every child willl at least understand exclusion but I believe the vast majority would develop empathy skills and become better citizens and peers.

What barriers might hinder the success of your project? How do you plan to overcome them?


Winning entries present a strong plan for how they will achieve and track growth. Identify your six-month milestone for growing your impact
Identify three major tasks you will have to complete to reach your six-month milestone
Task 1

Pilot it in a school

Task 2

Evaluate that session

Task 3

Engage future participants and schools to use it

Now think bigger! Identify your 12-month impact milestone

To package it up and sell it on

Identify three major tasks you will have to complete to reach your 12-month milestone
Task 1

Design and mareketing for the tool

Task 2

Approval from a relevant regulator or education scheme

Task 3

Testimonials and evidence to support claims

Founding Story: We want to hear about your "Aha!" moment. Share the story of where and when the founder(s) saw this solution's potential to change the world [125 words]

My son was badly bullied in p1-p4 by a child who was simply jealous and misunderstanding of how cruel he was being.

The school had no idea how to handle it and were keen to "protect" both my son and the bully. The two boys are very very different characters and simply dont understand or "get" each other although the school insists they play together which only makes matters worse.

I feel that this sessionw would have helped the staff and both boys really see the damage the bullying and exclusion was doing & bring home to the bully what he was doing to my lovely, gentle son. It would also empower my son to make his points and feel confident and "heard" again.

Tell us about your partnerships

I would link up with my sons school, the aftercare club and the council education dept. I would also use my contacts in child development, youth services and communities as I have many people who I can work with who I have met through other work. I spent 2 years working in a Steiner School for example and also studies Child Development many moons ago.

What type of team (staff, volunteers, etc.) will ensure that you achieve the growth milestones identified in the Social Impact section? [75 words]

I would like 2 more facilitators and trainers so 3 of us could cascade the model and teach staff how to use it.I would also need their help with monitoring and evaluation of the project.

Please elaborate on any needs or offers you have mentioned above and/or suggest categories of support that aren't specified within the list

I run a financial advice portal and can help any other projects manage their insurances ( public liability for example) and gain their business start up loans. I am also very good at marketing and packaging up concepts to sell on. I would offer my design and marketing skills therefore too.