Storytelling and the Art of Character Development

Enter one Jonathan Wolff and the Self Awakened Child Series (http://www.jonathanwolff.org/peace-book.htm).

At the time the value of social and emotional intelligence was just gaining ground.   Then Fate seemingly drops Mr. Wolff at our doorstep with his fresh pressed character development series- a new idea in supporting social and emotional learning with primary and lower elementary aged children.

Each month, Mr. Wolff drove almost three hours to meet faculty and parents in developing a culture of support as children transitioned from the Absorbent Mind to that of abstraction and morality.

His tool – STORYTELLING.

Throughout the ages, predating even written history,  community elders have relied on the art of storytelling to share values with  younger members in an effort to cultivate a shared  attitude.  We thank Jonathan Wolff for his contribution to our social fabric and to the friends and family who shared with us today:

DISCIPLINE

Wiping Noses

Temperatures just a few degrees below room temp can make the nose run as blood vessels dilate increasing supply to protect it as the nose works to humidify, warm up and filter incoming air. While a child can not catch a cold by being cold, the spreading of germs from a runny nose can.  As winter approaches, we often find ourselves chasing after children with offers to help them in wiping their noses.

As with any care giving routine, an offer to wipe a child’s nose is approached by the adult with the utmost respect, giving time for the child to incorporate what is happening to their body and participate in her own care cooperatively.  The attitude of the adult is paramount as it is conveyed to the child.  If the adult sees the upcoming connection necessary when wiping a child’s nose as an opportunity for learning and a pleasurable experience- so, too, will the child.

Here, the Primary Caregiver notices that a two year old girl in her care has a runny nose. Today, mittens prevent the child from caring for herself and her teacher asks if she would like some assistance.

Now I know, wiping a child’s nose doesn’t sound like a big deal at first glance.  But upon closer inspection of this very short clip, I am struck by details.  Obviously, this pair have a deep and mutually respectful relationship founded on trust.  The child is open to her Primary teacher in the ways she holds herself, makes eye contact, and through her cooperation.  The teacher obviously enjoys each moment they are together whatever the task and takes time to include the child in the caregiving process.  A fluidity exists that can not be taught by the nodding of heads, the gentleness of touch as the two move close together, re-enforcing smiles and glances, and the parting of ways.

I look forward to observing these two come back together when they next meet up.