Our Dookie Cluster Day was terrific on Tuesday. All of the classroom activities and the performance focused on the picture book that was the winner of the 2016 Children's Book Council Early Childhood Award, ‘Mr Huff’. The book uses a giant ‘grey cloud-like’ figure called Mr Huff to represent the frustrations of a young boy that is ‘in a huff’.
As Billy becomes more frustrated, Mr Huff becomes larger and larger until young Billy can’t do anything without Mr Huff getting in his way. Once the young boy acknowledges Mr Huff and acts kindly towards him, it shows that he is acknowledging his feelings and then Mr Huff begins to shrink. The learning focus for the day was to have students explore some ways that might help them to acknowledge their feelings and move out of ‘a huff’ more easily.
There were lots of great responses from the students in the teacher-led sessions that were delivered but the top three responses (out of interest), were to:
1. Talk to or cuddle a pet,
2. Get active or get some fresh air, and
3. Do something quietly like read or use technology.
Interestingly, not one student mentioned talking to an adult, teacher or parent. I think this highlights the fact that we need to continue to build our student’s social & emotional learning skills, independence and resilience but we also need to recognise that we are not necessarily the first people they come for help to.
The power of Picture Books to convey these deeper messages to children should not be underestimated and I challenge you all to pick one up this coming week and read it to your child despite their age and see the results for yourself!