December's Value - Loyalty (忠) A timeless Value.
December Value of the Month:
Loyalty, is also known as "忠" (Zhōng) in Mandarin. Teaching loyalty as a values system to preschoolers is a beautiful way to instill core values early in life. Loyalty encompasses trust, commitment, and standing by someone or something through thick and thin. While it might seem like a complex concept for young minds, there are simple and effective ways to introduce and nurture loyalty in preschoolers.
The Foundation of Loyalty
In Chinese culture, loyalty is rooted in Confucian principles, emphasizing duty, respect, and honor within relationships and family ties. Guanxi reinforces loyalty through interconnected networks built on trust and reciprocal obligations, forming the fabric of social connections. Zhong (忠), loyalty to one's country or ruler, historically embodies unwavering dedication and service to the greater good, reflecting a profound sense of commitment. These cultural values intertwine to create the foundation of loyalty, emphasizing honor, duty, and interconnected relationships in Chinese society.
So too was Loyalty important to Judeo-Christian and Ancient Greaco-Roman philosophical traditions. The Romans espoused the principal of pietas as a foundational virtue, embodied in Aeneas and other classical heroes. It is the binding concept to family, friends and ones place in society...and sometimes is used by those who would divide us as a means to separate our loyalties from one tribe and people to another. We believe that we must be loyal to our values - the principles by which we choose to live our lives, rather than any particular tribal group.
How we can teach it.
- Choose Stories: Select books or create stories that depict characters displaying loyalty and commitment. Discuss the characters’ actions and why they're loyal.
- Relate Stories: Relate these stories to their own experiences. Ask questions like, "How do you think the character felt when their friend helped them?"
- Pretend Play: Engage in role-playing scenarios where loyalty is highlighted. For instance, acting out situations where friends help each other.
- Problem Solving: Use these scenarios to guide problem-solving discussions. Ask, "What could you do if your friend needed help?"
3. Positive Reinforcement:
- Encourage Empathy: Praise instances where they show empathy or support for others. Highlighting these actions reinforces the value of loyalty.
- Reward Loyalty: Acknowledge and reward loyalty. A sticker chart or a "loyalty badge" can encourage and celebrate their loyal behaviors.
4. Lead by Example:
- Model Loyalty: Children learn by observation, so demonstrating loyalty in your own actions and relationships is key. Whether it's staying committed to family, friends, or responsibilities, your consistency sets the example.
- Emphasize Trust: Highlight the importance of trust in relationships. Discuss how keeping promises, being dependable, and showing care build trust between people.
Engage with Activities
1. Collaborative Projects:
- Group Activities: Encourage teamwork in activities like creating a group art piece or planting a garden. Emphasize the importance of supporting each other.
- Shared Goals: Help them understand that working together towards a common goal fosters loyalty and unity.
2. Building Relationships:
- Friendship Circles: Organize activities that promote friendship and bonding. Discuss the importance of being there for friends.
- Family Involvement: Involving families in preschool activities reinforces the concept of loyalty within the family unit.
3. Expressive Arts:
- Drawing and Crafts: Encourage drawing or crafting activities that showcase loyalty, like making friendship bracelets or drawing pictures of friends helping each other.
- Music and Movement: Incorporate songs or dances about friendship and sticking together to reinforce these values.
Stories about Loyalty
Here are some of our favourite stories about Loyalty:A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Philip & Erin Stead - Friends come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. In Amos McGee's case, all sorts of species, too! Every day he spends a little bit of time with each of his friends at the zoo, running races with the tortoise, keeping the shy penguin company, and even reading bedtime stories to the owl. But when Amos is too sick to make it to the zoo, his animal friends decide it's time they returned the favor.
Hooray for Hat, by Brian Won - Elephant wakes up grumpy—until ding, dong! What’s in the surprise box at the front door? A hat! HOORAY FOR HAT! Elephant marches off to show Zebra, but Zebra is having a grumpy day, too—until Elephant shares his new hat and cheers up his friend. Off they march to show Turtle! The parade continues as every animal brightens the day of a grumpy friend.
Those Shoes, by - Maribeth Boelts - All Jeremy wants is a pair of those shoes, the ones everyone at school seems to be wearing. Though Jeremy’s grandma says they don’t have room for "want," just "need," when his old shoes fall apart at school, he is more determined than ever to have those shoes, even a thrift-shop pair that are much too small. But sore feet aren’t much fun, and Jeremy soon sees that the things he has — warm boots, a loving grandma, and the chance to help a friend are worth more than the things he wants.
The Lion and the Bird by Marriane Dubuc - One autumn day, a lion finds a wounded bird in his garden. With the departure of the bird's flock, the lion decides that it's up to him to care for the bird. He does and the two become fast friends. Nevertheless, the bird departs with his flock the following autumn. What will become of Lion and what will become of their friendship?
Be Kind, by Pat Miller - When Tanisha spills grape juice all over her new dress, her classmate wants to make her feel better, wondering: What does it mean to be kind? From asking the new girl to play to standing up for someone being bullied, this moving story explores what kindness is, and how any act, big or small, can make a difference―or at least help a friend.
The Rabbit Listened, by Cori Doerrfeld - When something sad happens, Taylor doesn't know where to turn. All the animals are sure they have the answer. The chicken wants to talk it out, but Taylor doesn't feel like chatting. The bear thinks Taylor should get angry, but that's not quite right either. One by one, the animals try to tell Taylor how to act, and one by one they fail to offer comfort. Then the rabbit arrives. All the rabbit does is listen . . . which is just what Taylor needs.
The Rock Maiden, by Natasha Yim - When her fisherman husband fails to come home after a storm at sea, the beautiful maiden Ling Yee is heartbroken. Every morning, she puts her baby on her back and clambers to the top of a cliff looking for any signs of his return. But day after day, she is disappointed. The villagers try to convince her to give up her vigil but she perseveres...
The Invisible Boy, by Patrice Barton - Meet Brian, the invisible boy. Nobody in class ever seems to notice him or think to include him in their group, game, or birthday party . . . until, that is, a new kid comes to class. When Justin, the new boy, arrives, Brian is the first to make him feel welcome. And when Brian and Justin team up to work on a class project together, Brian finds a way to shine.
Teaching loyalty to preschoolers involves consistent modeling, interactive activities, and nurturing empathy and trust. Through storytelling, role-playing, positive reinforcement, engaging activities, and expressive arts, children can grasp the essence of loyalty and its significance in relationships. By instilling these values early on, we pave the way for them to grow into individuals who value and embody loyalty in their lives.