Ready-to-Use Teaching Ideas: Social/Emotional Development
- Safety table mirrors
- Chart paper and marker
- Drawing materials
- A book about feelings
- Creative thinking
- Social awareness
- Emotional development
Read Feelings by Aliki to the group. As you do, talk about the different emotions depicted in the book and how faces change to show these emotions.
Place a few mirrors on a table and watch children enjoy them. Show children how they can make their faces change. Ask them to make happy, sad, tired, angry, and frightened faces. How did they change their eyes and mouths to make a happy face? A sad face?
Use your face to show how faces express to others that we are happy, sad, frightened or excited. Children can mimic you making these faces.
Play with mirrors again. This time, ask children to describe how they change their faces to show they are happy, sad, and so on. Write the feelings they show in their faces on a chart as they play. Read the chart when finished.
Remember: Because emotions are abstract it will be difficult at first for 3- and 4-year-olds to talk about their feelings or understand them.
Connect the activities to everyday, spontaneous experiences. When children are angry, label their emotions. Tell them "I could tell you were angry, your eyes looked angry." Or when children fall, lose something, or feel alone you can say, "You must feel sad, you're not smiling. Tell me about it."
Send a letter to families telling of children's explorations of how their faces change when they feel different emotions. Suggest that families make a book of emotions. Ask them to help children cut out pictures of people from magazines or newspapers. They can paste these on sheets of paper and staple them together to make a book.
CURRICULUM CONNECTION: MUSIC AND MOVEMENT
Sing the song "If You're Happy And You Know It". Invite children to substitute words for happy. They may use sad, frightened, angry. Ask them to change their faces to depict the emotions. Play some happy music-perhaps a CD of a waltz-and ask children to move to the music. Find out how they felt when dancing to the music. Play a march and invite children to move to the music and do the same. Find a piece of sad, slow music to play. How do children move to this music and how do they feel?
Feelings by Aliki
Toby's Silly Faces by Cindy Szekeres
Today I Feel Silly: And Other Moods That Make My Day by Jamie Lee Curtis