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Choosing Courage and Compassion
Courage is not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it.
Aristotle wrote that “courage is the first of human qualities because it is the quality which guarantees the others.” As early childhood practitioners look for ways to help children (and themselves) cultivate their courage during this time of increased challenges, an Out of the Box Training Kit, “Choosing Courage in a Climate of Fear,” can provide support. Jeffrey Perkins’ wise words are needed now more than when he originally wrote them:
- “In these times it can seem as though everything is a reminder that we live with a lot of unknowns…How can we respond to these threats from a place that acknowledges the reality of the world we live in without giving into fear’s desire to paralyze us? In this climate of fear how can we work with children in ways that don’t further support an overwhelming suspicion about the world?
- We know that children work out their anxieties in their play and that by investigating topics that cause the fears in children, we provide new material for them to make sense out of their experience.
- There is no doubt that the world is a quickly changing place that provides lots of opportunities for stress and anxiety. Helping young children work with their fears now will help them build the foundation they need for confronting challenges and crises throughout their lives.”
And in another Out of the Box Kit, “Cultivating Compassionate Classrooms,”
Wendy Hinrichs Sanders writes about the importance of creating classrooms that feel safe and empathetic, especially during times of challenge:
“Create an environment of emotional safety. Nurture what children feel, and offer teaching practices that enable compassion. Significant relationship elements are captured by these labels:
- Commitment, trust, and emotional safety
- Guidance that exudes encouragement and forgiveness rather than shame and punishment
- Empowerment to contribute”
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