An early childhood educator might read the quote above and ask, “But how do I help children in today’s world move beyond fear when it seems to be everywhere in the world?”
Ruth Wilson, writing in an Out of the Box Training Kit, “Honoring the Essential Self,” provides ideas that are both practical and inspiring to help children move beyond the most basic fear of “will I get mine if someone else gets some too?” She writes about supporting both the “social self and the essential self” of young children. If children grow up feeling supported and safe in their own individuality, they are more able to engage in positive love-based social interactions with others. Here are a few of her suggestions:
“To reinforce the value of individual uniqueness, share the story of Frederick by Leo Lionni (1967). In this story, a family of field mice works day and night to prepare for the coming winter. But one of the mice, Frederick, doesn’t help with the gathering of wheat, corn and nuts…When the other mice complain, Frederick tells them that he is working by gathering sun rays, colors and words. Frederick’s work isn’t appreciated at first, but in the middle of winter, after the other supplies are gone, Frederick warms the cold home with words and images he has gathered. The other mice applaud Frederick for his unique contribution…
To reinforce the value of cooperation and the social self, share the story of Swimmy (Lionni, 1973). In this story, a little black fish in a school of little red fish helps to protect all of them from a larger fish. Swimmy teaches the little fish to swim close together…so that they look like the biggest fish in the sea. As the little fish swim together [cooperate], they chase the big fish away…
After sharing one or more of the Lionni books, draw attention to the illustrations. Explain how Lionni made these pictures by pasting small pieces of paper together in the form of a collage. Have the children work together to make a class collage relating to the story. Encourage each child to add something of their own choosing.”
About Yesterday’s EED Quote:
We wanted you to know that it was not our intention to use a quote from Bill Cosby in yesterday’s ExchangeEveryDay. We use an automatically generated quote service, but often replace their quotes with others we choose ourselves. On Monday we requested that the Bill Cosby quote be replaced with a different one, but unfortunately that change didn’t happen as requested. We sincerely regret that the inappropriate quote was used and will work even harder to be sure that everything we send reflects our choices.
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The Out of the Box Training Kit, "Choosing Courage in a Climate of Fear," is designed to help teachers support children's exploration of their fears through classroom activities and experiences.
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