What happened to me? Like you COVID-19 and the strange thing is that with more time, you would think I would be writing more but I came to a grinding halt! Did you? I am back and want to explore with you the BIG emotions and fears that children have been facing and the activities, story baskets and e-templates we have used to support them.
The pandemic has been a time to slow down and a time of mixed emotions. Many of us were happy to return to our early childhood settings and it strengthened our purpose. For others there was reluctance as the time at home was wonderful even if hard. For others it was dreadful, scary and was a time of big decisions and changes.
It was like this for children too.
What was interesting was that it was easier than thought to go back. BUT now…….
There are some big emotions being shared and fears that are creeping into play and conversation. I know children who want to stay at home as they felt ‘safe’ there from germs and bugs. Some who do not want to leave the early childhood setting for fear that they will not be able to return again. And some who do not know what they are feeling but do not feel themselves!
This called for action and so these are some of the ideas, activities and story baskets created to support children.
The colour monster story basket, an e-pattern.
You may find your own and children’s emotions are all over the place like the colour monster; feeling angry, happy, calm, sad and scared all at once!
To help children, as teachers we can explore what each feeling means through colour. It’s a great tool to help children learn empathy, how they can help others handle the difficult, overwhelming or confusing emotions.
Fears of touching things and being touched brought me to create a tuff tray based on the book Things in the sea are touching me. The feelings and fears explained and explored by the main character were similar to the children’s and gave great opportunity to talk about fears and what could be done to support them.
I need a hug was one that I wasn’t too sure about with social distancing but it soon became clear that this was not something that could be done in an early childhood setting. Some children had said no to hugs or hesitated when asking for one and for reasons they had heard from adults in their life which mirrored the main character in the book. The book and tuff tray meant discussion could happen and fears alleviated about hugs.
Lastly, friendships have been big. With big emotions come fall outs and this was often with friends. I need a hug is a great book for this but another is Penguin and the pine cone. Penguin returns the pine cone to its home and says goodbye to his friend. Pine cone changes but they still remain friends even though they have been away from each other.
I was initially surprised to sell out of pocket dogs just as we returned to early childhood settings. But then teachers explained how they were going to use them to support children returning. One teacher said A child found it hard to say goodbye to Mum but the dog she was given helped immensely. The child named the dog and carried it around all day. "She got to take it home and bring it back the next day and it worked a dream!"
What books have you been using? What activities have worked to support or talk about emotions and fears?
Just a quick catch up this time as I am busy getting ready for the 7 day challenge where teachers will learn one of my methods to make and share a story basket with children in 7 days. This starts on the 20th June and I love this challenge as I get to see teachers inspired and I am in turn inspired by them.
And then the doors open for a week on the 27th of June for our paid membership storybasketeers. The e-pattern for the colour monster was our July story basket and each month you get a free e-pattern or challenge with other bonuses to make story baskets, see or buy.
I hope you all are well and adjusting to the new normal.
Until next time.