|Posted on September 28, 2011 at 3:20 PM|
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Feelings are an important topic for preschoolers. Young children are in the beginning stages of learning and understanding what they are feeling and labelling those emotions. All children have a right to feel how they are feeling, but the crucial message to send preschoolers is how to best deal with those emotions.
A great motto to have in an early childhood setting is:
All of our feelings are okay, but it is just not okay
to hurt our friends,
or the things around us
Ask Children What They Know About Feelings
To begin a theme on feelings, first ask the children at a circle environment what they know about feelings. Ask the children if they can label some emotions, and give them an opportunity to explain times when they were having some feelings. Young children surprisingly have a pretty good grasp on the topic. Find a poster with different faces of emotions or use magazines to search for faces with different feelings on them, cut and paste them onto index cards. Flash cards are also available. Show the pictures and ask children to try and guess what the person is feeling. This activity aids children in labelling emotions.
Circle time is a good opportunity to talk to children about best ways of dealing with their emotions. Ask the group, "If I was feeling angry, would it be okay for me to kick the wall? Would it be okay for me to hit my mom?" Then provide children with different ways for them to get the anger out, such as kicking a ball, painting a picture, having a quiet time in your room, talking it out and so on. In addition, using puppets to act out scenes for dealing with feelings is an effective tool for communication with young children.
Books About Feelings
Books are always a wonderful way to communicate a topic with children. Here are some books on feelings:
•Glad Monster, Sad Monster by Ed Emberely and Anne Miranda [LB Kids, 1997]
•The Feelings Book by Todd Parr [LB Kids, 2005]
•My Many Colored Days by Dr. Seuss [Knopf Books for Young Readers, 1998]
Arts and Crafts for a Feelings Theme
Have the children make a feelings "clock." Provide the class with paper plates and pictures of happy, sad, mad and scared to paste on the positions of 12:00, 3:00, 6:00 and 9:00. In the middle, connect an arrow with a brass fastener that allows the arrow to move. The children can decorate the plate beforehand as well. When the feelings wheel is dry, the children can then use it to show others how they are feeling by putting the arrow to the appropriate face. Follow the link on the picture below to pbs.kids for a free template.
Make feeling sticks/puppets. Similar to above, the children can use their faces to let others know how they are feeling.
Painting to music is a great way for children to express their feelings. Actually, all forms of painting, such as finger painting, are a great outlet for children to work through emotions and delve into their creativity. After their masterpieces are done, ask children to talk about it and then record their words on the paper.
Make a happy collage. Provide children with pictures of happy faces found online, in magazines, on stickers, wrapping paper and so forth. Allow them to freely create their own masterpieces. Put out other collage material to finish the project.
Of course we all know "If You're Happy and You Know It", but another fun song to sing for a feelings theme is "I've Got a Happy Feeling"
To the tune of I've Got Joy, Joy, Joy Down in my Heart
I have a happy feeling here in my heart, here in my heart, here in my heart.
I have a happy feeling here in my heart, here in my heart to stay
I have a happy feeling here in my feet....
I have a happy feeling here in my hands
Feelings are a part of all of our lives. But some emotions such as anger, jealousy, sadness, shyness and so on are more difficult to maneuver through. Preschoolers can begin to learn through discussion, materials and adult modeling, some effective ways to work through their feelings.
ECE Online Workshop: Teaching Young Children About Feelings
Further reading: Friendship Lesson Plan
Love this song from Sesame Street.