To subscribe to ExchangeEveryDay, a free daily e-newsletter, go to


Wrestling with the Concept of ‘Bad Guys’

All doubt, despair and fear become insignificant when the intention of life becomes love.
Jalal Rumi, poet

Donna King’s important new book, Pursuing Bad Guysis a helpful and honest account of how she supported the young children in her class as they explored the tricky concept of “bad guy” – what it means and how to think about good and bad in the world. Here’s an example of how she worked with her classroom community:

“One morning late in January, I invite a group of six older kids to the work table in the tiny library building situated in the middle of our playground.  They find seats and chat with one another as they watch me pin a large piece of white paper up on the wall.  

Donna: So I’m wondering if it might be interesting to draw a bad guy together. I’ll hold the pen, and you’ll tell me what to draw.

Avery: A shooter.

Parker: No, a head, a head.  Draw the body first. They’re made out of bodies; it would be easier if she did a body first.

Donna: OK.  What shape is the body?
And so we begin to create a visual image of a Bad Guy, as the children dictate one important feature after another…
  • No smiles, since it’s a bad guy.
  • Zig zag teeth, in a mouth that’s straight and grrrr.
  • Scary eyes that are skinny and squinty, with dark pupils.
  • A triangle nose, with no nostrils, because bad guys breathe in and out with their mouth…

For more information about Exchange's magazine, books, and other products pertaining to ECE, go to

© 2005 Child Care Information Exchange - All Rights Reserved | Contact Us | Return to Site