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Nurturing Courage (勇) in Nursery Children Through Storytelling & Play

November Value of the Month:
Courage ()


Courage, known as "勇" (yǒng) in Mandarin, is a values system that transcends time and borders. Rooted in the rich cultural tapestry of China, 勇 is a quality celebrated in stories, poetry and philosophical teachings. It symbolises bravery, resilience and the ability to confront fear and adversity. In this blog post, we'll explore the essence of yǒng, its historical and philosophical significance and how we can teach young children about the importance of courage.


The Concept of Courage ()

At the heart of courage lies the capacity to face challenges, no matter how daunting, with determination and resolve. The Chinese character 勇 visually depicts a person with a spear in hand, showcasing the readiness to confront obstacles head-on. This encapsulates the virtue's essence - a fearless spirit that drives individuals to overcome adversity and make a positive impact on the world.


Historical and Philosophical Roots in China

The concept of 勇 is deeply woven into the fabric of Chinese culture, finding expression in various historical and philosophical traditions. Courage was regarded by Confucius as one of the five fundamental virtues. It was the quality that enabled individuals to carry out moral actions, even in the face of danger or discomfort. Daoist teachings emphasise going with the flow of life and at times, that demands courage to let go of the familiar and embrace the unknown.


Teaching Nursery Children About Courage

Introducing nursery children to courage is a wonderful way to help them develop important life skills and character traits from a young age. Yǒng embodies the ability to face fear or challenges with bravery and confidence. Storytime with Brave Characters is a simple, effective and age-appropriate way to introduce this concept to nursery aged children. Here’s how you could carry it out:

  1. Choose a Story: Begin by selecting a children's storybook that features brave and courageous characters. Popular choices might include tales of superheroes, fairy tale heroes like "The Three Little Pigs" or "Little Red Riding Hood," or stories of animals displaying bravery in the face of adversity.
  2. Read Aloud: Find a cosy reading area and read the chosen story aloud. Use expressive voices and engage your little ones in the narrative by asking questions about the characters and their actions.
  3. Discuss the Story: After reading, have a brief discussion about the story. Ask questions like:
       - "What did the brave character do in the story?"
       - "Why was that brave?"
       - "Have you ever felt scared like the character?"
  4. Define Courage: Explain courage in simple terms. You can say something like, "Courage is when you're scared, but you still do something that you think is important or right."
  5. Share Examples: Share age-appropriate real-life examples of courage that children can relate to, such as trying a new food, making new friends or standing up for someone being bullied.
  6. Craft Activity: Engage your child in a craft activity related to courage. They can create "Courage Capes" by decorating paper capes with brave symbols or drawings of their own. This can help them feel like little superheroes and reinforce the idea of courage.
  7. Role-Playing: Encourage some role-playing where children can act out simple scenarios where they have to be brave, such as pretending to cross a pretend "scary" bridge or stand up to a pretend "monster."
  8. Reinforce the Value: Continuously reinforce the value of courage by praising and encouraging children when they display bravery in various situations, no matter how small.


The Chinese value of 勇 (yǒng) is a timeless virtue that inspires individuals to confront challenges, embrace change and stand up for what they believe in. It symbolises the determination to face adversity with resilience and make the world a better place. Teaching nursery children about courage through storytelling, activities and positive reinforcement will help them understand this important value in a fun and relatable way, therefore, setting a foundation for their emotional development and future decision-making skills. In a world filled with uncertainties, 勇continues to serve as a guiding light, motivating individuals to move forward with strength and resolve. Embracing this virtue can empower us all to rise above life's obstacles, foster positive change, and contribute to a more courageous and compassionate world.