Teaching Kids to Care

Teaching kids to care about others early in life grows as a result of the development of emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence, according to preschool teacher training, is the ability “to rein in emotional impulse; to read another's inmost feelings and to handle relationships smoothly”. When emotional intelligence is nurtured from an early age, it enables kids to deal with situations involving caring moments. As kids are exposed to caring events, and as they are encouraged to “imitate what they see, kids develop a repertoire of empathic response”. One approach for cultivation emotional intelligence and increasing caring behaviors in kids is through the use of stories.

How to Select a Story
To determine whether a book can be used to teach kids about caring, read it to determine the extent to which the characters share objects, time, and opportunities; engage in fair play; do their share; show compassion; consider others; donate or give; help others; keep promises; fulfill commitments; tell the truth; show respect; or offer love and affection. When these caring behaviors are explicit and meaningful to young kids, and woven into an interesting plot, the learning experience becomes real.

The Approach
according to early childhood education, the literature approach to teaching caring is effective when consideration is given to group size, preparation for reading, and active participation.

Group Size. Young kids learn best in groups that do not include more than five or six kids. This small setting gives the kids a sense of connectedness and community. The kids, seated either at a table or on the floor, can talk with each other, see the book's illustrations clearly, hear the dialogue, and interact, verbally and non-verbally, with other members of the group.

2. Preparation for Reading. Kids need to bring their own experiences to the story. Invite kids to share situations in their own lives that relate to the kinds of caring behaviors illustrated by the characters before reading the book.

3. Active Participation.
Some suggestions for encouraging active participation by teacher training Mumbai are listed below.

• Retell a story using felt board pieces, puppets, or prop boxes. It is particularly important for kids to retell the parts of the story where characters behaved in a caring manner.
• Role-play several different characters in a story. This develops the kids's ability to take the perspective of others.
• Use pictures from story books and search for characters that demonstrate the caring behaviors found in the story they heard.
• Read from memory dialogue from the text using voice inflections which demonstrate the feeling the character is portraying. This works well as a choral response.
• Encourage the kids to recreate a character's caring behavior using art materials, such as clay, paints, paper construction, or drawings.
• Use the language experience approach to dictate their own story about caring for others. This can then be illustrated, read several times, laminated, and placed in the library corner.
• Learn songs and finger plays that relate to the kinds of caring behaviors demonstrated in the story. New words that relate to a story's theme can be written to familiar songs and rhymes.
• Make a caring calendar. Invite the kids to draw a picture showing a caring behavior for each day of the week or month of the year.

Conclusion
The literature approach to teaching character education is not expensive; does not take a great amount of planning; and uses simple materials. Yet this easy-to-adopt approach to teaching fosters an environment that nurtures mutual respect, consideration, and thoughtfulness between kids and the adults that teach and care for them.