Educators say children learn from preschool lessons about love, acceptance and the importance of respecting others that they may not have seen before.
“What they’re learning is they are really, really open to the idea that the other person is loved and respected and they can see that from the outside of their family, but the truth is they’re just not thinking of themselves as a person,” said Valerie J. Bouchard, a professor at the University of Guelph’s Graduate School of Education.
Jody Hines, a teaching assistant at a Toronto-area preschool, said it was not always so clear for her.
She was born in New York and moved to Winnipeg in her early teens, but she felt alienated from her family and felt the need to explore who she was.
“I remember I was just feeling really disconnected from the people around me,” she said.
“The whole thing is just about acceptance and being able to see other people as they are.”
At the end of kindergarten, Bouchar said she started noticing a change in her self-esteem.
“At the time I didn’t really see myself as a human being, but I just started to realize that I was,” she recalled.
“And I felt really bad about it because I thought I was different.”
A special teacher for young children teaches about respect and compassion in a special lesson on love.
(CBC) Bouchas experience was mirrored in many other classrooms.
“In a lot of classrooms, it’s not necessarily the people you see but the way the children respond,” said Laura Ault, a teacher in a Manitoba public school.
She said it is important to start by making sure that your students are well-rounded and comfortable with their own body language and body language skills.
“One of the things we’ve been doing is getting them to have conversations about their bodies and how they look, their skin tone, how they talk, their body language.
We’re also doing things like making sure they’re in their own space and not looking at the teacher.
We try to get them in their spaces.
And then we try to do that through talking about the love and respect they feel for each other and for their own bodies,” Ault said.
Teachers at a New Brunswick school said they found it easier to get students to talk about their feelings about being bullied, but they also were taught to understand how they felt and how to listen to them.
“They don’t know what they are doing, they don’t understand what’s happening in their lives,” said the principal, who asked not to be named for fear of retribution from her students.
“We’re trying to teach them to be kind, understanding, compassionate, kind of compassionate and that’s what they need.”
She said that the special lesson in the school’s childcare centre on love was particularly valuable.
“It’s about teaching them to love their families, but also about teaching children that love is also about being kind and respecting each other,” she added.
“Children are very good at understanding that the most important thing is to make sure that everyone in the family is loved, even if you’re not.”
“I think it’s important to understand that being kind is just one part of love, love is just like water,” said teacher, Karen M. Crouch, of New Brunswick.
“When you drink it, it doesn’t wash out your face, it cleans it up.
If you just leave it in a cup and let it soak, it won’t wash.”
She added that some of the children in her class are very sensitive and that understanding this was important for them to understand.
“So, as much as we’re talking about love and compassion, it is also the power of love that will really make your life better,” she continued.
“That’s really important for me, for my kids and for me as a teacher, that we’re showing love in our classrooms.”
With files from the Canadian Press