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Little Meerkat's BIG PANIC. A lesson in emotional literacy


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In March I was lucky enough to hear Jane Evans speak at the ENABLE conference in London. It was an interesting presentation and many of the things she talked about resonated with me and casued me to reflect on my own experiences as a classroom teacher.

Particularly pertinent at this time of year when perhaps one might be moved to 'spring clean' the classroom is the realisation that some children might find such change unsettling. If you, as the teacher, feel that a 'good old change around' would freshen up and invigorate your classroom remember to include the children in your choices. If you have a child in your class for whom the enviroment is a refuge, a place of calm 'sameness', then a sudden rearrangment of furniture and resources can be very upsetting.

We have all had those children in our class who are constantly 'on the twitch' always moving around flitting here and there, never settling - how many of us have thought that it would be a good idea to move that child to 'the front' looking only at us, with our own perhaps miguided belief that if they can't see anyone else they will settle and not be distracted? How many of us though stopped to consider that maybe that child feels the need to be constantly vigilant, perhaps something in their past created an unpleasant suprise for them - an event they failed to anticipate which had negative consequences. Who then wouldn't feel a little twitchy?

Better then, in those situations to have the child near to you, to the side, so that you can reassure them, not have them distracting others, yet enabling them to keep a watchful eye on what is going on around them.

This sense of helping children to learn to manage their emotions is addressed in Jane's book 'Little Meerkat's BIG PANIC' which I have reviewed here.

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