Thursday, March 17, 2011

Helping Children overcome Fears

What are children afraid of? It is a question that is as vast as an ocean. The dark, loud noises, strange people, the moon; these are just a few. Sometimes parents and teachers can easily identify children's fears and other times we need to do more probing. We ask questions, listen to their conversations during play and interpret their drawings to gain insight that can be useful. In this experience Emily was well into a superhero project when we discovered that she was terribly afraid of bird beaks.  Recounting the entire project is too complex but what I can tell you is that Emily had designed a series of superheros. She determined that one of the Superheros needed an evil bird named Squawk.

Emily drew Evil Squawk and we noticed that she did not give him a beak.

"I don't like beaks they scare me. Birds have them but I don't want one for my bird."
Beyond this she gave no further explanation.
Emily moved on to create a three dimensional representation of Evil Squawk based on her drawing-she still refused to give him a beak.

The superhero project continued for weeks and eventually through much story writing Emily decided to create a Good Squawk.  This bird, unlike his nemesis, had a beak.

When we asked Emily why she gave him a beak, she answered, "That's because he's a good bird and even if he has a beak, its okay. I'm not scared anymore because he helps people."

Did she resolve her fear because, for week, she was engaged in the struggle between Evil Squawk and Good Squawk?

We can't say for certain but it would seem that way, that she was able to walk through her fears with the use of storytelling and art.

Emily prepares the wings.

Emily tells her classmates why her bird does not have a beak.

Here is Good Squawk, a bird with a beak.

1 comment:

  1. It seems after telling herself that her bird was the "Good Squawk" she felt more at ease by giving him a beak because she was okay with that, he is good and will not hurt anyone. This is such great work!~Sabrina