How Day Camp Can Build Your Child’s Social Confidence

Day Camp isn’t just an opportunity for your child to try a new activity and get exercise. It’s also be a great chance to gain a stronger sense of self-worth (feeling like she’s a good person, worth being respected and treated fairly) and self-confidence (believing that they can handle themselves in new situations and tackle new challenges). When she participates in the right day camp, your child has the opportunity to learn a new skill, (from basketball to acting or swimming) or improve on a skill they already love, building their confidence and leaving them with a greater sense of accomplishment. Whether they master the slap shot in hockey or discover that they can perform 3 counts of 8 in a routine at dance camp, a week honing a craft is an excellent way to boost your child’s self-image.

And Day Camp can also be a terrific opportunity for your child to stretch his social skills leaving him more socially confident. The refreshing change in scene (and cast of characters) from school may be just what your child needs to work on communication skills and flexibility within a social scene. And whether it’s working out who plays what character in drama camp or figuring out where to sit at lunch in art camp, Day Camp gives your child practice working on essential social skills like turn taking and cooperation. These short term camps allow your child to spend a week or two with a new social group in a different social setting, testing their team building skills away from the classroom. Day Camp can arm your child with a handful of stronger social skill—like flexibility, and cooperation, allowing them to be more successful when they head back to school in the fall.

Day camp can be an awesome vacation from last year’s school social drama, and can feel like a clean slate when it comes to reputations and social cliques. Being with a new group of kids can also allow your child to see other perspectives, and practice communication skills in a different setting. When you know you are only spending a week with a group of people you can have a different type of confidence to try out new communication skills. Not having the reputation of the shy kid, the bad kid, the talkative kid or the mean kid can be such a breath of fresh air for anyone. Shed your reputation, work on some communication skills, gain confidence and let that newfound social confidence transfer into a healthier happier school year come September.

Things You can do to make camp more successful:

There’s the Spirit– Support your child in their willingness to participate in spirit days. It’s camp- so it’s supposed to be fun! So don’t force them to wear their PJ’s for Pajama Day if they aren’t into it. But if they are into celebrating those theme days, dig out your glue gun and provide some fun materials when it’s Crazy Hat Day. Head to the Dollar Store for a hula skirt on Hawaii Day. You might be surprised at how much your ‘usually shy’ kid might be willing to try their hand at stepping outside their comfort zone and taking a risk. But again- Don’t push!! Let your child lead the way on this one.

Keep the Evening Schedule Light: Camp isn’t just physically tiring. Being in a new social scene following a new set of rules and schedules is emotionally and mentally tiring as well. So don’t plan evening events during camp week. Postpone play dates and skip soccer practice if you can so your child can focus all of his energy into getting the most out of camp.

A Hangry Camper isn’t a Happy Camper: Pack enough food for the day. Sometimes parents pack a typical school lunch for their kids, forgetting the day is longer. And again, in these new social scenes you may find their nervous stomach won’t allow them to eat much on Monday, but by Wednesday they are famished and out of food.

Read some Self-Esteem Boosting Books: My picture book, WILLOW’S WHISPERS (Kids Can Press, 2014) is a great book to read to your child about self-confidence, self-worth and speaking up for yourself.

willow_s_whisperswillow finds a way

My picture book WILLOW FINDS A WAY (Kids Can Press, 2013) is a great book to read your child about handling sticky social situations.

 

Un-Planning Perfect Summer Memories for Your Kids

So it’s the second week of summer and you might be feeling summer planning stress. As much as I tried to enjoy schedule free days when my three girls were young, in summer I often turned me into my own version of cruise director Julie from The Love Boat. For the under 40 crowd, Julie carried around a clip board in this 70’s TV show, with an endless list of perfect vacation activities. I tackled many summer days stressed to make this the best summer for my kids, and piled up the mom guilt if there wasn’t a fun activity, an organized day trip, or a magazine worthy summer snack (because hello, this was pre-Pinterest days- thank God!)  As a seasoned early childhood educator and Mom of three girls who all survived summer breaks through post secondary education, I’m here to tell you to enjoy your young child’s school free days— Because the secret to perfecting super summer memories is all in the un-planning.

Looking back, my girls say that some of their favorite summer memories involved a handful of water balloons that turned into days of entertainment. (I’m not joking- days! They wouldn’t throw them- they kept them, named them, created little water balloon habitats for them out of tissues and shoe boxes, and wept for them when they broke.) My girls spent hours playing store, or performing in home made shows. Some of their best summer experiences were those unplanned afternoons where adventure was created with the spark of their own imaginations. So here are 3 easy steps for un-planning perfect summer memories for your kids:

Time! Your kids need time. I’m talking unstructured, unplanned, uninterrupted time- with no screens within scrolling distance. Not every day. And I’m certainly not telling you to cancel your vacation. But now and then, strike a few things off that list of awesome summer activities and let your kids figure out what their day looks like. If your kid’s typical summer day is buckling in and out of car seats to get from swim dates to bowling to junior tai chi in the park then they won’t get the chance to stretch their imaginations and find out what adventure lies just past, “I’m bored.”

You’ve got to steel yourself. It’s kind of like those parents who sleep train. You know the beginning will be tough, but it will be worth it in the end. And, just like sleep training, you’ve got to trust the process. When the whining and lamenting starts about how very awful this incredibly boring day is, just shoo them back to wherever they came from- the backyard, the playroom, or wherever they are congregating -and tell them to ‘go play’. It’s common, during this transitional phase, to hear lots of groaning and moaning, but trust me! The magic starts right after the last, “There’s nothing to do!”

Warning: If kids aren’t used to stretching their imaginations, it might take a while. But every child has a magic sense of play inside them, and when you give a child time and space, they will find a spark. Not only that, but creativity and imagination, like many things, grow when you feed it. The more practice your kids get at using their imaginations and coming up with their own fun, the better and faster they will get at it. At some point the whining will stop and there will be an eery quiet…Your parent instinct kicks in… ‘What are they doing??’ You’ll head into the room to see spaces being created, characters divvied out, props being gathered. It might look strange at first. What exactly are they doing? You see the spark of imagination ignited in their eyes. That, mom and dad, is playing.

Support the Spark. Nothing supports a spark more than adding a few simple props. If the game involves a store, hand them a few pens. If they are creating a circus, give them an empty box or two. Clothespins, bed sheets, a deck of cards- simple props added to a spark of imagination are like dry kindling to a campfire.

Warning: Don’t butt in! Nothing squashes a spark faster than a well-intentioned adult who takes over the game. “You should add the clips here so the tent is more stable,” will have your kids abandoning the game and reaching for their iPads faster than you can say Fortnite. As a seasoned ECE who’s stepped in too far and squashed a spark on more than one occasion, I’m here to tell you that there’s an art to this. Position a few enticing props in their range, (like placing food within reach of an un-trusting stray) make a broad statement like, “Hey, maybe you’d like to use these,” then leave them bee. You can spy on them from the next room. Believe me, you’re gonna feel your kid’s excitement when you hear them exclaim, “Hey cool! Let’s use these for….” And they are off!

Ignore the Mess. The good part, when my kids played store, was that they created an intricate dramatic play game playing with each other for hours. And I am here to tell you, as I place my Early Childhood Educator cap on, that this type of play is essential for your child’s growth and development, and will make them a better student come September. Children develop problem-solving skills, increase their communication skills, learn to appreciate and deal with multiple perspectives, all while building their confidence as an innovator, and increasing their imagination and creativity. Tell me those things won’t come in handy when put in groups at school, told to work together, come up with an innovative idea for their project…etc.

Okay, so the bad news about this type of high-level dramatic play is that it can trash at least one of the rooms in your house. Not permanently! Just in the- ‘this room looks like it sneezed’ kind of trashed. Teeny tiny ‘price tag’ paper would be everywhere. Every toy and stuffed animal was out of it’s ‘tidied up’ spot and displayed. The mess would make me crazy! But those hours of play were worth it. And honestly, my girls are 19, 21 and 24 years old. There is no better feeling as a mom who no longer tidies up toys, than listening her girls reminisce, “Hey, remember when we played store! That was the best!”

So un-plan a few days, and let your kids create some great summer memories.

Some of my favorite stories about that magical sense of play are:

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The Wonderful Pigs of Jillian Jiggs by Phoebe Gillman

https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/home/search/?keywords=The%20Wonderful%20Pigs%20of%20Jillian%20Jiggs#internal=1

content

 

My Think-a-Ma-Jink by Dave Whammond

https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/home/search/?keywords=My%20Think-aMa-Jink#internal=1

 

0340988193 Stanley’s Stick by John Hegley

https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/stanleys-stick/9780340988190-item.html

 

 

Supporting Halton’s Families for Families and child/youth mental health with inspiring stories

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Come on out to Family Fun Day on Saturday July 7th to support FAMILIES FOR FAMILIES an organization that connects with, supports, and engages with Halton families who are impacted by a child/youth’s mental health struggles. www.haltonfamiliesforfamilies.com

The fun goes from 8:00a.m – 2:00p.m. on the front lawn of Nelson Youth Centre at 4225 New Street, Burlington 

teacher not here coverwillow_s_whisperswillow finds a waywillow_s_smile_0

Come find me, Children’s author, Lana Button, at the Reading Tent from 9:45-10:15am. I’ll entertain your kids with inspiring stories about Willow and Kitty – 2 of the quietest kids in class. Through their stories we’ll practice taking a brave breath, and I’ll teach your kids how to persevere in finding their own voice. With some great read aloud books (and maybe a song or two!) we’ll talk about empathy, working through childhood adversity, and combating bullying behavior.

Grande Prairie

 

Let me give your kids something to cheer about while we support child and youth mental health initiatives in Halton!

 

Supporting Halton’s Families for Families and child/youth mental health with inspiring stories

-MgMY0-gEw_gSjmVCaW-hxo2Joup16yFoSt1BsFL0M6raex-oo_XvMs5-drD0w6AmAR4Dw_lV1L2q8M7YZT2Mvujc_bEMKpEwGPPh6X--DUHFNXU6AjbeT1N1nCV99CrBmjDoLX6d_wbZBxfvIP1VUEFHj55qu9-PtiuFok=s0-d-e1-ftcropped-apple-touch-icon-180x180

Come on out to Family Fun Day on Saturday July 7th to support FAMILIES FOR FAMILIES an organization that connects with, supports, and engages with Halton families who are impacted by a child/youth’s mental health struggles. www.haltonfamiliesforfamilies.com

The fun goes from 8:00a.m – 2:00p.m. on the front lawn of Nelson Youth Centre at 4225 New Street, Burlington 

teacher not here coverwillow_s_whisperswillow finds a waywillow_s_smile_0

Come find me, Children’s author, Lana Button, at the Reading Tent from 9:45-10:15am. I’ll entertain your kids with inspiring stories about Willow and Kitty – 2 of the quietest kids in class. Through their stories we’ll practice taking a brave breath, and I’ll teach your kids how to persevere in finding their own voice. With some great read aloud books (and maybe a song or two!) we’ll talk about empathy, working through childhood adversity, and combating bullying behavior.

Grande Prairie

 

Let me give your kids something to cheer about while we support child and youth mental health initiatives in Halton!

 

Top 5 Back-to-School Picture Books that Ease Anxiety and Promote a Positive Attitude

 

There is no way around it- whether you have a little one starting school for the first time, or a child heading back to those first few grades, starting school is an anxiety inducer. But your positive attitude towards the situation (and some great picture books) can alleviate the stress and help pump up your child’s confidence and optimism about school.

 

  1. 618RPzbO2WL._SX389_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg Pete the Cat, Rocking in my School Shoes, by Eric Litwin and James Dean https://www.amazon.ca/Pete-Cat-Rocking-School-Shoes/dp/0061910244

This is a fun easy read that shows children there are lots of great spots in school, and it’s ‘all good’!

 

  1.  51q9Smmke-L._SX402_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgWemberly Worried, by Kevin Henkes https://www.amazon.ca/Wemberly-Worried-Kevin Henkes/dp/0061857769/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1472559642&sr=1-1&keywords=Wemberly+Worried

You think you’re worried about school- well Wemberly worries about everything! How will she handle her first day? This is one of my absolute favorites! It provides support, understanding, encouragement and inspiration.

 

  1. willow_s_whispers.jpg Willow’s Whispers, by Lana Button and Tania Howells https://www.amazon.ca/Willows-Whispers-Lana-Button/dp/1554537444/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1472560178&sr=1-1&keywords=Willow%27s+Whispers

When Willow is at school her words come out as soft and shy as a secret. But not for long! Willow will inspire young ones to use their own big strong voice in school. This story also builds inclusiveness and empathy for every voice in the class.

 

  1. 61f83lXiPDL._SX439_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg Franklin Goes to School by Paulette Bourgeois and Brenda Clark https://www.amazon.ca/Franklin-Goes-School-Paulette-Bourgeois/dp/1771380101/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1472560561&sr=1-1&keywords=franklin+goes+to+school

So many emotions swirling around that first day! Even the children who can’t wait to start might find themselves anxious when it’s time to actually head off. This story allows lots of dialogue regarding the realm of emotions we go through when starting school, and illustrates once more, that we are heading off to a great spot filled with lots of new experiences and adventures.

 

  1. 51n2oEIWNQL._SX495_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt and Oliver Jeffers https://www.amazon.ca/Day-Crayons-Quit-Drew-Daywalt/dp/0399255370/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1472560981&sr=1-1&keywords=the+day+the+crayons+quit

…because, hey, when you’re anxious, you need a good laugh! And I love the message that we have the freedom to think outside the box and create new and exciting things— that’s the fresh start opportunity waiting for your child at school— like a brand new box of crayons!

 

So listen to your child when they tell you about their back-to-school anxieties. Don’t dismiss those feelings. Acknowledge that these are very understandable emotions that will go away in time. And fess up to your child that many of us are feeling the same way during this annual stress-filled transition. But while you remain supportive, concentrate your words, your body language and your attitude on the positive exciting aspects and opportunities of school. Hang on! In a few weeks, we will all be in the swing of things!

 

 

 

Parent Prep- Are YOU Ready for Preschool?

You survived a nine-month pregnancy, 20 hours of labour, years on no sleep and toddler tantrums. So…the start of preschool? You can handle it.
You’ve prepared your child by talking up all the excitement waiting for him; his new dinosaur knapsack is packed. But what about you? How will you feel when your job, as a parent is to walk away for the first time?
As a preschool teacher, I’ve witnessed more than 18 years of dramatic farewell scenes: shell-shocked parents unable to give their upset preschooler a confident send-off because they are suddenly emotional themselves. Letting go is a powerful thing. So prepare yourself.
Beware little ears. Don’t confess your preschool jitters to your friend if Jimmy is beside you watching Dora. Keep preschool discussions with your child-and around him- positive, light and simple.

Have a Plan. And let him in on it. “Mommy’s taking you to school. You’ll have lots of fun. I’ll be back when school is over.”

Know the rules. You probably received a policy manual at registration. Read it. It outlines the program, routine and policies. You’ll know if she needs indoor shoes, or a labeled cup for snack. Don’t promise she can carry Mr. Blanky around, and then find out it’s against the rules.

Prepare for the Kiss-and Fly. The big day! You both march confidently into school. The teacher greets you at the door. Then it hits you like a bag of hammers: “This is my baby’s classroom. And I’m not invited.” It’s like arriving too soon at the departure gate with security telling you to move it. You consider hanging around for a minute. Don’t! Your job is to send the message to your child that school is a safe, fun place. By standing there looking doubtful, you set his radar off: “There’s something to be scared of.”

And the Oscar goes to… Here’s where your high school acting career comes in handy. Breathe. Smile. And say in a calm, confident tone, “Have lots of fun. I love you. I’ll be back when school is over.”

Beware the Velcro trap. One kiss. One hug. Then walk. Do not get snagged in a Velcro grip as your daughter decides she’d rather go home and watch The Wiggles. Stay calm. Her teacher will take her (not unlike removing a kitten from a wooly sweater) and comfort her. Keep walking. I mean it. Mentally block out the crying with a well-practiced mantra such as, “She’s in a safe place.”

Do not play Let’s Make a Deal. This is no time to bargain, so don’t promise a Strawberry Shortcake doll if she stops crying, and don’t cancel Christmas if she doesn’t. And remember, by lingering you make it worse, sending the message: “I cry, Mommy stays; I cry harder, Mommy stays longer.”

Watch those claws. They expect you to leave your hysterical baby while some other adult comforts her? Back off Mama Bear, and trust the teacher. Believe me; we are very good at hugging, reassuring and distracting. The faster your child realizes her teacher is caring and trustworthy the faster she’ll adjust to her new preschool. I promise she will always love you best.

Hold the waterworks. Unless you bring your own mom, no one’s comforting you. Sorry. You can drop the tough act in the parking lot; there’ll probably be a whole group of you. Go have coffee and pass the tissues. Chances are that before the foam cools on your latte; your son will have stopped crying and started tackling his first puzzle.

Don’t count on clinginess. Your daughter might be one of those kids who bounds into school without a backwards glance, let alone a kiss goodbye. Guess what? This may break you heart. Remind yourself that an easy transition is a blessing.

Keep your end of the bargain. When school is dismissed, be there to greet your little scholar, not stuck in a Starbucks’ line up. It’s crucial. Minutes can feel like an eternity to an anxious child-especially when he sees all the other mommies and daddies collecting their charges.

Give it time. Your child may reenact the dramatic farewell scene for a while; three to five weeks of regular attendance is a typical adjustment period.

Your rookie preschooler is entering a new stage of development. And like most stages, it often starts out rocky. Need a reminder? Just reconnect with a new parent with that, “I’m so tired I’m throw-up sick’ look, or one who’s desperate for a toddler to give up the bottle. Trust me, in a few weeks your child’s preschool class will be a room full of happy adjusted children. And your child will be one of them.

These tried and true tips were originally published in an article I wrote in Today’s Parent Magazine, Sept. 06

An Educator’s DREAM! September Story Time that will Establish Strong Community,Empathy, and Self-Confidence to your New Class!

 

It’s said that if summer were the educator’s weekend, July would be our Saturday, and August would be our Sunday. We can’t help ourselves. With weeks to go, our minds are heading back to the classroom.

September is about establishing relationships, creating bonds, and setting limits and expectations. I invite you to welcome the Willow trio of picture books into your classroom to help establish a positive environment of understanding, community and empathy among your students. Large group discussion points and activities are listed for each story below. This award winning series of books encourages empowerment, self-regulation and self-confidence, which is the boost we all need when entering a new class environment- no matter what our age!

The Willow stories revolve around the shyest child in the class and how she deals with social, emotional challenges. These picture books are an asset to any primary grade classroom, and they correlate directly with Ontario’s brand new kindergarten program.

Below are specific teaching guidelines and activities that cover overall expectations and related specific expectations within the kindergarten program, but can be worked into any primary grade story time- perfect for those first few weeks of school!

 

willow cover

https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/willows-whispers/9781554537440-item.html?ref=isbn-search

Willow’s Whispers (Kids Can Press, 2013)When Willow speaks, her words slip out as soft and shy as a secret. At school, her barely audible whisper causes her no end of troubles but Willow is as resourceful as she is quiet. She fashions a magic microphone from items she finds in the recycling bin. but Willow’s clever invention is only a temporary solution. How will this quiet little girl make herself heard?

Large group discussion after read-aloud

  • What were some uncomfortable things that happen to Willow when people couldn’t hear her?
  • What changed for Willow when people could hear her? See recording challenge for extension.

FDK Expectation 27. Recognize bias in ideas, and develop the self-confidence to stand up for themselves and others against prejudice and discrimination.

Develop strategies that enhance their personal well-being comfort and self-acceptance ie; speaking confidently, stating boundaries, making choices

FDK Expectation 27.2 think critically about fair/unfair and biased behavior towards both themselves and others, and act with compassion and kindness)

  • How do we know that Willow was sad at school when her words were whispers? What are some ways we could make someone feel better in our classroom?

(Expectation 27.3 recognize discriminatory and inequitable practices and behaviors and respond appropriately

Expectation 2.5 Develop empathy for others and acknowledge and respond to each other’s feelings)

Activities:

  • Provide a variety of tubes and other art materials that children may choose to use to re-create the microphone from the story (FDK Expectation 30.2 explore a variety of tools, materials, and processes of their own choice such as recycled materials to create drama, dance music, and visual art forms in familiar and new ways)
  • Exploration-Explore volume with and without the use of a variety of funnels, tubes etc. (FDK Expectation 31 demonstrate basic knowledge and skills gained through exposure to and engagement in drama, dance, music and visual arts. 31.2-explore different elements such as volume.)
  • Provide a variety of recycled materials in the creative art area to allow for 3 dimensional art experiences. (FDK Expectation 23.2. Use problem-solving skills and their imagination to create visual art forms)

(FDK Expectation 20.4 build three-dimensional structures using a variety of materials and identify the three dimensional figures their structure contains)

  • Provide chart paper and markers and introduce opportunities to compare and record how Willow’s day changed once she was heard. Children may create a T chart, draw a diagram, use a variety of illustrations, create separate lists etc. (FDK Expectation 13.4 communicate results and findings from individual and group investigations)

 

 

Unknownhttps://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/willow-finds-a-way/9781554538423-item.html?ref=isbn-search

Willow Finds a Way (Kids Can Press, 2014)In this simple but substantial picture book by Lana Button, shy, quiet Willow silently wishes she could find a way to say no to her bossy classmate Kristabelle’s demands, but the words never seem to come when she needs them. That is, until Kristabelle starts using the powerful threat of un-inviting children from her “fantastic” birthday party to keep them in line. Willow decides she’s finally had enough. Surprising everyone, even herself, Willow steps up and bravely does something shocking, and it changes the entire dynamic of the classroom.

Large Group Discussion after read-aloud

  • What does Kristabelle do to make friends?
  • How do the children feel about that?
  • What are some good ways to make friends?

(FDK Expectation 3. Identify and use Social Skills

3.3 demonstrating an awareness of making and keeping friends

  • A classroom is a group. A dance class is a group. What are other kinds of groups? Willow’s group is her classroom. How did Willow help her group? How could you help your group?

(FDK Expectation 26 Develop an appreciation of the multiple perspectives encountered within groups, and of ways in which they themselves can contribute to groups i.e. school, family, sport team, religious community, and group well-being)

  • What is Willow’s strategy to stand up for herself and others?

(FDK Expectation 27.1. Develop strategies for standing up for themselves, apply behavior that enhances personal well being, comfort)

  • What happened that was unfair in Willow Finds a Way? What happened that was kind?

(FDK Expectation 27.2. Think critically about fair/unfair behavior towards both themselves and others, and act with compassion and kindness)

  • Willow never says a word in this story. How does she get her message across that she wants to be a good friend, with the list and with Kristabelle in line?

(Expectation 4. Demonstrate an ability to use problem-solving skills in a variety of contexts, including social contexts)

Activities:

  • Lists- Provide materials that would allow children to create a variety of lists (lists of groups they know, lists of what you would need at a birthday party, etc (FDK Expectation 19. Collect, organize, display and interpret data to solve problems and to communicate information, and explore the concept of probability in everyday contexts)
  • Provide materials that could be used for birthday crowns and/or party decorations (FDK Expectation 23.2 Use problem-solving skills and their imagination to create visual art forms)

 

 

willow_s_smile_0.jpg

https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/willows-smile/9781771385497-item.html?ref=isbn-search

 Willow’s Smile (Kids Can Press, 2016) “Sometimes Willow smiled without even trying but sometimes when she wished she could and knew she should, her smile slipped straight off her face.” So when her teacher tells the class that Picture Day is coming, shy Willow starts to worry. What if she isn’t able to smile for the camera? How can she have her picture taken without smiling? But then on Picture Day, Willow gets the opportunity to watch the other children being photographed. She sees that all of her friends’ expressions are unique and perfect in their own way. By the time it’s her turn, she’s realizes that she doesn’t need to worry about smiling for her picture. She just needs to be herself.

 

Large Group Discussion after Read-Aloud

  • When is it hard for Willow to smile? When is it easy for Willow to smile? Was it hard for anyone else in the story to smile? Why? (FDK Expectation 1.3. Use and interpret gestures, tone of voice, and other non-verbal means to communicate and respond ie; name feelings and recognize how someone else might be feeling)
  • When is it hard for you to smile? When is it easy for you to smile? (FDK Expectation 6.5. Discuss and demonstrate in play what makes them happy and unhappy and why)
  • What strategy does Willow come up with that gives her the self-confidence to take the picture?

(FDK Expectation 27. Recognize bias in ideas, and develop the self-confidence to stand up for themselves and others against prejudice and discrimination. Develop strategies to stand up for themselves that enhance their personal well-being, comfort and self-acceptance (speaking confidently, stating boundaries, making choices)

Activites

  • Provide mirrors and a variety of art materials for children to create self-portraits and class portraits. (FDK Expectation 22. Communicate thoughts and feelings, and theories and ideas, through various art forms)
  • Add photo booth materials to the dramatic center play (camera, stool, photo props etc.) (FDK Expectation 23.1. Use problem solving skills and imagination to create drama

FDK Expectation 30.1. Demonstrate a personal interest and a sense of accomplishment in drama

FDK Expectation 30.2. Explore a variety of tools, materials, and processes of their own choice to create drama)

  • Invite children to take photos of classmates expressing different emotions. Print the photos and provide children with materials to create books or posters that label those emotions. (FDK Expectation 13. Use and interpret gestures, tone of voice, and other non-verbal means to communicate and respond ie; name feelings and recognize how someone else might be feeling)
  • Display old cameras and film for children to explore (FDK Expectation 14. Demonstrate an awareness of the natural and built environment through hands-on investigations, observations, questions, and representations of their findings)