Hello! Howdy! Ciao! Bonjour! Hola!
February 6th through 10th is Start With Hello Week. This week is meant to empower young people to create a culture of inclusion and collectiveness. If you visit the Sandy Hook Promise page you can see activities, lessons, and ideas for children in grades 2-12.
This is an amazing message and one that you can do with preschools too. Here are some of my favorite activities and books to encourage friendship, inclusion and acceptance.
Art: Create a mural with a twist. First, the mural doesn’t have to be anything massive. A large piece of paper, enough for at least 5 kids to work on at a time, will work just fine. You also can use any medium you want. From crayons and pencils to loose parts from Dump Day, let the kids select and go at it. Here is where the twist comes in. Create a boundary for the kids to work in. This encourages the children to talk and negotiate the space. What results is amazing communication and a sweet art piece.
Large Motor: Parachute Play! Nothing says team work more than trying to get twenty children to lift a parachute at the same time. Up the ante by adding a ball. Work together to see how high you can toss the ball in the air. Don’t have a parachute? Use a flat sheet.
Rug Time: Have discussions with the little ones about Why we say Hello. Discuss how being greeted makes us feel, and how it feels when we aren’t greeted. You can totally throw in some role playing here! Assign “greeters” for the class. Have different children everyday say, “good morning” to each child as they enter the space. Throw in some languages by teaching them a different way to say hello each day.
Math: Have the kids keep a tally of how many people they said “hi” to. You may want to keep a time limit on this. For example; how many people they said hi to at recess.
ALL TIME FAVORITE!! MUST DO!!!
Okay, this is a little sneaky but it is awesome! Bring out a new puzzle the children have never seen. Something large but not too large, think under 30 pieces. No matter how big the puzzle is you are going to take out 1 piece. Have the children work in groups to complete the puzzle. When they discover that the puzzle cannot be completed have them come up with ideas on how to solve the problem as a class. I’ve had kids come up with scavenger hunts (which lead to a massive 2-month exploration on pirates), to making a new piece and then problem solving how they can create the piece to fit exactly. Please do this and tell me in the comments how it goes!
Books: These are just a few of some amazing books you can read with you class on the topics of friendship, inclusion, acceptance.
The Big Book of Families by Mary Hoffman
It’s Okay to be Different by Todd Parr
Say Hello by Rachel Isadora
Have another idea? Place them in the comments below!
Aloha (hello and goodbye),