Every week we have a story of the week that is read to the den children during transition times. This week the book of the week is ‘The Colour Monster’ by Anna Llenas.
This is a book that explores emotions and feelings. The main character is a monster that is very mixed up with his emotions. He is happy yellow, sad blue, angry red, fearful black and calm green all at once. Our children are offered the chance to help put each feeling in a different jar where we can explore each emotion independently. To help the children engage with the story I made a monster puppet from cardboard and a milk carton which was filled with colourful ribbons. When we are reading the children the story they can be part of the story, helping the monster to separate his feelings (ribbons). Children recognise colours and choose the corresponding colour that matches the emotion then putting it into the corresponding coloured container.
Our den children are developing an understanding of their emotions, feeling them first before understanding what it is they are feeling. Free Rangers follows an ‘emotion coaching’ technique which enables practitioners to help children recognise what emotion they are feeling by identifying and enabling them to ‘deal’ with that emotion. Helping them to verbally label the emotions being felt, respecting and accepting their and others emotions, discussing the situations that elicited the emotions and having goals and strategies for coping with these situations (Gottman, 1997).
We want to show our den children that sometimes we can feel angry, sad, happy, etc. No emotion is wrong all of them are completely valid. Sometimes children have a huge variety of emotions in one day, but they don’t even know how to deal with them or label them. We need to help the children to be able to understand and regulate theirs. If we work together towards developing their emotional well-being they will develop the skills of empathy, become more confident when in emotional situations.
The Colour Monster book engages children to recognise 5 emotions, happiness, anger, sadness, fear and calm but also to learn how they make us feel. It’s a really good resource to start the emotional learning in Early Years in a ludic way. If you are interested in buying the book, the author is Anna Llenas and you could get it easily on Amazon.
Thanks for reading!