Tip 164: May 2022 - Creative Kindness: Vivian Gussin Paley
Website Educational Tips for Social/Emotional Development
Vivian Gussin Paley said that adults need to “Think dramatically.
Get in the habit of thinking of yourself and the children as partners
in an acting company. Once we learn to imagine ourselves as
characters in a story, a particular set of events expands in all
directions. We find ourselves being kinder and more respectful
to one another because our options have grown in intimacy,
humor, and literary flavor.”
Rattles– “Play is the mechanism by which children learn,
how they experience their world, and practice new skills.” (Paley)
Adults can build on infant’s play by providing engaging toys. Effective toys
are safe and suited to the infant’s age, abilities, and interests. Rattles are
easy toys to make. Small plastic water bottles filled with beans or pebbles
are fun to use, and make sure the top is taped on tight.
Toilet paper tube filled with small bells and stapled closed on both ends
are easy to make and fun to use.
You can’t say you can’t play– In Vivian Gussin Paley book
with the same name she discusses how children make friends, and how
telling some children that they can’t play effects children’s self-esteem
and their relationships. We all have rules for creating a safe
environment at home and at school, like no biting or hitting.
It would be easy to add Paley’s rule of “You can’t say you can’t play,”
thus creating kindness in the play environment.
Storytelling– The primary objective of storytelling
is children’s enhancement of language and literacy participation and
It’s through stories that they learn to unravel life’s complicated patterns
and to understand ways to express feelings that they find difficult to
comprehend or verbalize.
Stories help them to solve problems and teach moral and social values
through the way they deal with other children, and with the dilemmas
that confronts them.
The art of storytelling has always been meant to entertain and more
importantly it was meant to instruct and empower. It’s through
storytelling that children learn creative kindness.
They learn that children are more alike than they are different
and stories teach them that we are all part of an even larger
family of friends. Storytelling offers the children a temporary
escape from reality into a world of fantasy, distracting their
mind and stimulating their imagination.
The easiest way to get started is to tell the children to tell the stories
that are all around them, all stories have a beginning, middle, and
an end. These can be stories about their friends or their family or
stories about their grandparents or their aunts, uncles or cousins.
They can be stories about their favorite foods or holidays, or things that
make them happy or places they would like to go.
Children need the freedom and time to play. Play is not a luxury, play
is a necessity. (Redfield Jamison)