Positive self-esteem in children and adults includes feeling lovable and capable and having a sense of self-worth. Babies begin to develop self-esteem as their needs are met by parents and caregivers. Toddlers continue the process through exploration and an increase in independence. According to Iowa State University's Understanding Children, a preschool child's self-esteem is intimately connected with learning new skills. Parents and teachers can engage preschoolers in activities that focus on positive self-esteem on daily basis.
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Circle time activities in a preschool classroom can foster feelings of self-worth in the children. Use songs, rhymes, finger-plays and dance and movement to encourage children to represent thoughts and feelings. This is also a great time to model positive affirmations through the use of a hand mirror. Show children how to speak positive words about themselves while gazing at their reflections. Children can communicate things that they like about themselves or that they are good at doing.
Preschoolers enjoy trying new tasks that, in turn, help them to feel good about themselves. Art activities at home and school are a wonderful way for them to express their individuality. Art activities that focus on positive self-esteem include puppet making, collages, photography, finger-painting and creative cooking. Preschool units can include a self-esteem theme that allows children to have their outlines traced on butcher paper. They can then use crayons and markers to colour in the facial features, hair and clothing. Gayle's Preschool Rainbow entitles this popular art activity "Me!" and even suggests that each child have two outlines drawn so that the figure can be glued together, stuffed with tissue paper and dressed in a set of the child's clothing.
Storytime at home and school is a perfect time to introduce concepts relating to positive self-esteem. Use big books and children's books, like "I Like Myself!," by Karen Beaumont, to get preschoolers thinking and talking about themselves. Allow children to participate in role-play activities that tell stories as well as listen to and discuss poetry with a self-esteem theme.
Journaling is a way to teach preschoolers to express their feelings. Encourage children to "write" and draw in class journals when they want to share their feelings quietly. Other pre-writing activities that relate to building positive self-esteem include making "Me, Myself and I" booklets with pictures, photos and decorations. Parents and teachers should model effective hand positions for writing as well as ways to be creative with writing. Give children ample opportunities to imitate strokes, letters and shapes.
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- Humanity Quest: Self-Esteem Art Activities
- Iowa State University; Understanding Children: Self-Esteem
- Parenthood; NAPPA 2004: Books for Preschoolers and Kindergarteners
- Preschool Rainbow: Me, My Family and Friends
- Sensory Processing Disorder: Fun, Creative Pre-Writing Activities for Preschool Children