TEACHING CHILDREN Courage at Home and in the Classroom


TEACHING CHILDREN Courage at Home and in the Classroom

When you hear the phrase “acts of courage,” you might think of the heroism of first responders, humanitarian workers, or frontline doctors and nurses. But courage need not be that big, young children can practice it regularly.

And that’s what they do: It takes courage to talk to a new friend on the playground. So does trying a new vegetable or riding a bike for the first time. Jumping into the pool takes courage, even in the arms of a trusted adult.

As parents and educators, we want our children to grow into confident adults who are willing to take difficult but worthwhile actions. That’s why it’s important to offer children opportunities to practice courage, says Lynn Louise Wonders, a licensed therapist and early childhood development and parenting specialist.

“We want to create experiences where the child feels fear and does what they are afraid to do with appropriate support,” she says. “They develop an inner sense of ‘I can do hard things’ and this helps them build self-esteem, confidence and more courage, maybe a sense of adventure.”

Courage in the Classroom in Kindergartens

Courage is an abstract concept, and kids ages 5 and under are concrete thinkers, says Wonders, so it’s important to bring it to life with examples, metaphors and pretend play.

Kindergarten curriculum includes lessons about different types of fear, such as fear of doing the wrong thing or fear of being left out, helping children understand that fear is natural and can be overcome.

Special attention is paid to the importance of doing the right thing, even if it is difficult. Children learn to speak loudly if they see someone being treated unfairly.

“Social courage is really tough,” Shaheen says. “Even adults don’t always take a step when they see something wrong. That’s why it’s so important to give these values ​​early.”

Older kids, Martin Luther King Jr. They learn about brave people in history like

How Families Can Build Courage at Home

Children need a strong and stable foundation from their parents that gives them confidence to try new things and sometimes even fail again and again.

“Children can only learn at a higher level when they feel safe and secure. That way they develop courage and confidence,” she says.

Shaheen Wonders adds that children rely on adults to help them regulate themselves when they are anxious or fearful. This means naming the emotion with compassion. “I see you’re feeling a little nervous, which makes sense because you’re trying something new,” and then offering a gentle encouragement: “I believe in you. I know this is hard, but you can do this. I’m here to make sure you’re safe.”

If the child refuses to do something, it’s not a good idea to force it. This causes anxiety and insecurity, says Wonders. At the same time, try to resist the urge to get your child out of any uncomfortable situation, no matter how tempting.

“You want your child to feel a little uncomfortable sometimes, a little scared, and know they’re still safe and can handle it,” says Wonders.

Parents can model courage by talking about their own fears in an age-appropriate way. For example, a father who is nervous about speaking in front of his colleagues may share these feelings with his child. Then the father could tell his child what it felt like to be brave and why he was glad that he had given the presentation.

It’s good for children to know that even their parents need to practice courage, and they can help adults be brave too.

“Children aged 5 and under are very empathetic,” says Wonders. “They have the capacity to recognize scared or sad emotions and are naturally very loving and nurturing.”



Ps. Nuray Begum Altunbas

MIA ATASEHIR – School Psychologist

Teaching Children Courage, in the Classroom and at Home Primrose Schools