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THE HAPPINESS COLLAGE

Representing Our Joyful Feelings

Preschoolers have been participating in an ongoing discussion about our feelings. We’ve been working on discovering how emotions feel in our bodies and recognizing those physical reactions to emotional stimuli. Preschoolers have been discussing how to recognize emotions in the faces and body language of our friends and reading the emotional energy of classmates.

We’ve seen some amazing growth in social-emotional language and peer-to-peer interactions as preschoolers continue to explore their emotions. This growth is consistently reinforced and affirmed for children as teachers respond to conflict by naming the emotion they notice in children. Teachers often ask children to confirm that emotion, and in doing so, the child must stop to check-in with their body and their emotional state. They may restate the same feeling the teacher pondered or assign the emotion a different name or degree (angry may become sad/upset or really angry).

Preschoolers got to explore a specific emotion, happiness, through the Happiness Collage project, which was started in early December and wrapped up in January, 2022. Through this project, children had the opportunity to explore magazines and cut out items that “sparked joy” for them. Teachers encouraged children to view the photographs and illustrations within the magazines and ask themselves what they liked and what made them feel good to look at it. Once preschoolers identified a clipping that met that criteria, they cut out that bit and added it to their personal envelope. Once they had plenty of happy, little clippings, we began the process of laying out their clippings on their matboards and arranging the clippings to show off each one. They also laid out the letters for their names and started gluing everything down.

Teachers noted the rationale behind each clipping to share with viewers like you. It was really lovely to hear their thinking behind each clipping and document how each choice was made. Some clips were more meaningful to the child than others, but each reflected a genuine thought and spark of joy. You may read the children’s direct quotes explaining each clipping next to their collage.

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