These activities focus on our exclusive brand, the WorryWoos. This is an excerpt from Dr John’s Developing Emotional Intelligence Program for Schools, available when you purchase any of our WorryWoo resources.

Teaching and Learning Experiences:

Activity Guides:

ActivitiesIntroduction: For younger children, make the introduction to the WorryWoo all about fun. Introducing the WorryWoo as a new member of the class can engage the children with the WorryWoo. Having the WorryWoo hidden around the room is a good activity to get the kids excited to meet the new addition to the class.

As each new WorryWoo has a particular emotion focus, showing the children the WorryWoo’s emotions is a good way to engage with the children. For example, with Wince, after a recess or lunch break, he might hide in a corner or be nervous to join the group. It is very important to show and identify with children the emotion of each WorryWoo and allow children to personalise the experience.

During a whole class instruction, during morning news or generally throughout out the day, have the WorryWoo around the kids. If you try to have a group of children show the WorryWoo around the school or classroom this will help with the children starting to think about how a new member of the class starts to feel as if they belong.

Some key questions for children:

-          What do you think the WorryWoo needs to know about our school and class?

-          How would you help the WorryWoo learn about our expectations/rules?

-          What would you show the WorryWoo to help them feel welcomed in our class?

-          What do you like about the WorryWoo?

-          How do you try to solve emotional problems?

-          Why do you think the WorryWoo has joined our class?

ActivitiesReading:

Begin the day with a whole class reading of the supporting book. Again having the WorryWoo around throughout the day is vital to increasing a child’s awareness of different emotions.

Some key questions for children:

-          What emotions does the WorryWoo struggle with?

-          What made the WorryWoo feel worried/frustrated/lonely/inferior/isolated?

-          How did the WorryWoo try to understand their emotion?

-          What helped the WorryWoo understand their emotion?

-          How do you try to solve your emotions?

-          What would you do in the same situation?

With increasing confidence, children can take on different roles explored in the book. Play acting or role play can help children gain a new perspective on the book.

ActivitiesTalk:

Showing children that different people have different emotions is a key element of the WorryWoos. Show a short clip (the film Inside Out is ideal, but try Mike and Scully in Monsters Inc., or Violet in The Incredibles) that children can relate to. Children can begin talking with each other about the type of emotion, the characters body language, the reaction from others, if they have ever felt or seen the same kind of reaction, what would they do differently?

Key steps:

-          Identifying the emotion,

-          Describing how different people reacted,

-          Describing a personal situation,

-          Exploring how the WorryWoo reacted in the story,

-          Explaining what steps can be taken to do things differently.

ActivitiesCheck:

Ask children about what kind of emotions they experienced yesterday, last night or this morning.

Allow time for children to identify:

-          How did they react? What did they do? What did others do?

-          Can they identify if there were any signs that they could recognise now and how might they act differently?

ActivitiesReview:

Now’s the time for more fun with the WorryWoo, allowing children to include the WorryWoo in a short play or to take the WorryWoo to introduce to another class or even the school executive. The experience of teaching others about the WorryWoo’s emotions are a good way to review the week, while observing how children have change in the way they speak about their emotions.

For older children: There’s a number of literacy tasks that would enable a child to reflect on the week. Try writing a letter or email to the creator Andi Green, a letter to the school principal recommending why the class enjoyed the visit from the WorryWoo. A good exercise in empathic writing is to guide students to write from the perspective of the WorryWoo.

The creation of visual reminders and cues for the classroom are a good way to reinforce the activities of the week.

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Contributor Profile:

Dr John Irvine, B.A PhD., M.A.C.E., M.A.P.S

Child and Family Psychologist

Our partnership with respected child psychologist Dr John Irvine is a philosophical connection that helps shape our vision that physical and emotional development is at the core of education. We share a love of child centred learning through exploration, problem solving and play. We share a desire to have all children excel in their cultural, emotional and academic development. Together we embrace the importance of providing quality practical guidance for parents and educational professionals.

Dr John was a teacher before becoming a child psychologist. He was awarded the Shell Prize for Arts and the University Medal during his studies at the University of New England.

 He is a sought after speaker and author of several books, including Who’d Be A Parent, A Handbook for Happy Families and Thriving at School.