This is our first post in our series, Teaching Virtues through Stories. We will be connecting each of the 12 virtues found in the awesome program We Choose Virtues, to a popular children’s story, fable, or nursery rhyme. First up, teaching kindness with the Three Bears.
(Disclaimer: I am very opinionated about which stories we read, and which ones I feel are appropriate for my children. A whole blog post coming up soon, but if you fall in the anti-fairy tale camp…stick with me. I know where you’re coming from, but these stories are worth it.)
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I used to think the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears was absurd. First, a random girl trespasses in their house. Then she eats their food, breaks their furniture, and decides to take a nap in a strangers bed?!? Then a family of bears find her sleeping, scare her out of her mind, and she runs out never to return again. Not even so much as an “I’m sorry” on the way out? Now that just rubs me wrong!
Then I realized, that’s the point. Children are drawn to these stories because they point out an obvious right and wrong, or good vs. evil. The importance of these types of stories became even more obvious this past year, as we have really put a focus on our virtues. We can talk about the golden rule, and treating others the way we would like to be treated, but what does that look like when someone eats your food and breaks your favorite chair?
The story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears comes in many variations. However, my absolute favorite version of the story is called Abuelo y Los Tres Osos. It is a bilingual flip book, which means you read one side in Spanish, then flip the book over and have the other side in English. Rather than blonde curls, the main character Trencitas, is known for her black braids. I love the Latino culture thrown in with Abuelo telling the story, like changing the porridge to a bowl of beans. I also like how Trencitas and Baby Bear are friends, so it gives a little context to the story. The best part is the ending…spoiler alert! They end up laughing when Trencitas wakes up, and in an attempt to make her wrongs right, she invites the entire bear family to a fiesta at her house with unlimited beans. hehe
This story can lead to some great conversation. After discussing how Goldilocks (or Trencitas) handled the situation, you can talk about the CORRECT way to do it.
- If you are invited to someone’s house, do you eat out of everyone’s dish, or patiently wait to be served?
- If you break something that belongs to someone else, what should you do? (Tell the truth right away, apologise, then look for a way to make things right.)
- If your friend is not home, should you go into their house even if the door is open?
After talking about the right vs. wrong way to handle these situations, you can have the children role play both scenarios. Then have the rest of the children decide which way was the “good” way.
We also created a mini-book to go along with the story. (Remember, our books are formatted to fold in half, stack in order, then staple on the left to create easy to turn pages for little fingers.) The English version is called Goldilocks and the Three Bears, and the Spanish version is called Trencitas y Los Tres Osos. The first pages are very predictable focusing on the sights words this and is, so even young children should be able to pick up on the pattern.
For the page with baby bear’s bed on it, I had them draw Trencitas sleeping inside. For the last page, they get to choose how to end the story, then illustrate it and write about it. Some of my favorite responses were “Ellos fueron a Santa Marta.” (“They went to Santa Marta.” which is a beach vacation spot here in Colombia.) I love their imaginations!
This story also lends itself perfectly to talking about family vocabulary (Papa, Mama, Baby, Abuelo, etc.) and opposite words like hot/cold and hard/soft. We have some great vocabulary resources coming soon, so stay tuned!