Superhero Play in the Preschool Classroom
To Ban or Not to Ban
As we ring in the new school year, we welcome a new group of students into the classroom and encourage them to get familiar with routines the rules. Where does your classroom stand on superhero play?
This past July, a surprised groups of parents were sent home with a letter explaining a ban on Super Hero play in their children’s classroom. The controversial letter (posted on Reddit from a parent of one the preschoolers) explained that “the imaginations of [their] preschool children are becoming dangerously overactive” and asked parents to monitor the media in their own homes as well. The concern seemed to be rooted in the reenactment of violent and physical acts, but warranted a response by completely eliminating imaginary play based upon “wrestling”, “super hero” and “monster games.”
Roughness in the classroom can be a real concern, the efforts of this school may have been slightly misguided. As mentors, teachers and parents it’s our duty to guide safe play.
Focus on the Positive
Superheroes are an iconic symbolization for strength, pride and integrity. Take note, these are the good guys! There are a lot of fantastic lessons we can teach our children by pointing out the admirable qualities… if we know where to look. Change the channel, write a story or role play. Our responsibility to children is not just to tell them what not to do, but to explain right from wrong.
Our mission as parents should be to build a child up, not break them down. No child wants to hear that their high flying, action seeking, crime fighting superhero is a bad role model. Have you ever asked your child why they like a particular superheros? I was surprised at the innocence of my son’s answer as he explained how much he yearned to “change colors” like the Hulk. That’s right, he liked the color green.
Real Life Superheros
Take the opportunity of everyday experiences with the community to teach our children that superheroes actually live among us. That’s right! How exciting it that? We find superheroes, not just by what do they look, but the inspiring qualities that they uphold.
Remember the heartwarming story of the window washing superheros at Children’s Hospital? A group of window washers disguised as masked vigilantes donned superhero costumes to bring smiles to families and children outside their hospital windows. If only for a moment, it brought joy to worried families, made sick children feel less pain and inspired others to do random acts of kindness… now THOSE are superpowers!
Have you seen the picture of the dad walking through a store aisle sporting a cape with his son? While the cape made it more obvious, you know a good dad when you see one. A lesson can be learned from people in our community who are everyday heroes; police officers, fire fighters, doctors, teachers… and you, too, mom and dad! Great people live among that deserve recognition.
The Importance of Imaginative Play
Imaginative play is a crucial part of early child development. Mimicking actions, re-enacting experiences and magical thinking allow children to understand the world around them. The dynamic between “good guys” and “bad guys” can be fun and interesting to children.
Social Skills: When your child is pretending to be someone else, he is entering into the experience through another role. It’s a great exercise in developing empathy while working on cooperation and problem solving.
Language Skills: While in character, you may hear your child use new and exciting words. Kids learn through imitation, so don’t be surprised if you hear echos!
Let’s Teach Our Children They Can Save the World, Too
When I stumbled upon Kids Stuff World‘s list of “20 Ways to unleash your child’s inner superhero” I absolutely fell in love the message. Here’s the list of their 20 life lessons:
- Teach them to have Integrity, do the right thing even when no one is watching
- Give it all you’ve got, no matter what you’re doing give it 110%
- Try to see the good in people, even when it may be hard to find
- Whenever possible, lend a hand. Helping others is fruitful & rewarding
- You can do anything if you try, try, try. Believe in yourself
- In every situation, be the good guy. Trust your instincts and do what feels right
- Be strong in mind — keep a clear head, stay focused, be present and in the moment
- & body — eat to nourish your body, stay active and challenge it constantly with new activities
- Take the initiative- when something needs doing, get up & get started
- Be Resourceful. A little bit of creativity and ingenuity goes a long way
- Solve Problems – saving the day is all about solving problems. Brainstorm possible solutions, talk with others and keep an open mind
- Make a Difference – the smallest of gestures can make a huge difference in someone’s day. Seek out those opportunities and embrace them
- Overcome Great Odds – somethings are difficult, but chances are you will get through them. In tough times, endure and lean on family. In the shadow of insurmountable tasks, break them into bite size pieces and get started achieving your goals.
- Do something BIG – dream big and find a way to bring your dreams to life
- Take Chances – the only way to know if something will work, is to try. Don’t be afraid to fail. Take risks and take them often.
- Take a Stand – there will always be someone or something out there that needs a voice. Speak up.
- Change the World – the tallest mountains are made from the smallest grains of sand, chasms and canyons were carved in to the earth by tiny drops of rain and so can your efforts imprint themselves on the world. No effort is too small or done in vain. Do every deed with great purpose.
- Rock your look , we are all individuals — be your own person. Own who you are.
- Know your talents & USE THEM!
- Be AWESOME.
Does your child have a favorite superhero?