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Healthy Boundaries, Healthy Kids: Teaching Courage and Assertiveness

Courage main

People talk a lot about being brave, whether that means doing things that are exciting or dangerous, speaking out against things we dislike, or helping others (and ourselves) in difficult situations. Young children think about being brave as well; in a preschool classroom, you’ll often find children seeing how high they can climb the monkey bars or trying new foods during snack time.

However, children may not always understand what it means to be brave, or how bravery can affect social situations.

Cue Cheri J. Meiners’ book Have Courage. This beautifully illustrated picture book demonstrates the many ways children can exhibit courage every day, whether talking to a new person on the playground or being comfortable enough to tell people what they want.

Explore ways you can invite courage into your classroom:

Courage Collage

Materials:

Directions:

  1. After reading Have Courage, have children cut pictures from magazines that remind them of courage. You may want to prepare by finding several examples they may want to use, like pictures of police officers, lions, super heroes, etc.
  2. Make a single group collage or have group of three or four children make collages out of the pictures they find. Help the children add the pictures to the group collage
  3. Invite the children to tell you why these pictures reminded them of courage. Have them write their responses under each picture

Courage Role Plays

Preparation:

Prepare scenario cards by writing situations that may require courage on index cards

                Examples:

  • Blake is nervous about taking swimming lessons.
  • Kiki is a little afraid to take the training wheels off her bike.
  • Joshua is not sure what it will be like to get a haircut.
  • Jasura isn’t sure what the first day of school will be like.
  • Henry feels shy about talking to a child on the playground.
  • Yuan is nervous about going up to a worker in a store and asking a question.
  1. Directions:
  2. Help a child select and read one of the scenario cards. Ask them to describe the scene
  3. Ask questions like “What could this person do? How might they show courage?” Prompt courageous responses if needed
  4. Let the children use dolls, puppets, and action figures to act out the scenario. Make note of the different ways they handle the situation and discuss

Finding Heroes

Materials:

Directions:

  1. Ask the children to learn a story about a family member, ancestor, or friend who displayed courage in a difficult situation. Invite the children to tell their stories
  2. After each child presents, ask questions like “What did the person do to show courage? How can this story help you have courage?”
  3. Afterward, have each child draw a picture of the person in their story. If they wish, children can write the story on the back of their drawing
  4. Compile all the pictures in a binder. Read the book with the children and then add it to the school library where they can browse through it regularly


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