Monday 29 April 2019

Picture Books and the Five Ways to Wellbeing • Lynne Garner

If you've read any of my previous posts you'll be aware that I also teach for a living. I'm lucky that my job is slightly different to most teaching roles. I teach almost any age from four year olds to someone in the 80s or even 90s. I teach almost where from a school dining room to a church hall to a craft room in a garden centre. Part of my job entails encouraging my students to look after their wellbeing. To achieve this we use the five ways to wellbeing. These five ways are:

  • Connecting
  • Being active
  • Taking notice
  • Keep learning 
  • Giving 

Now I've talked about how picture books can be used as an educational tool in my posts Picture Books Aren't Just for Reading and Take a Picture Book and Add a Story Sack. However, in this post I've decided to explore how to use picture books to highlight the five ways of wellbeing. 

Firstly, I'll use one of my books. 

A Book For Bramble

Teasel the mouse has a best friend, Bramble the hedgehog. Bramble has gone into hibernation and Teasel is missing his friend very much. So he decides to create him a gift (giving) and writes him a book. In the book Teasel writes about all the fun things he does (being active), about the things that happen during winter (taking notice) and lastly when Bramble emerges from his long hibernation Teasel is waiting for him (re-connecting).    

The next book I'd like to suggest to use to explore the five ways to wellbeing is written by one of the Picture Book Den team, Chitra Soundar

It's the perfect day for flying a kite so Farmer Falgu and his daughter Ella load the cart with kites and they head to the fair grounds. On their way they meet Ahmed (the balloon man) and Pushpa (the fortune teller) who Farmer Falgu gives a lift to (connecting and giving). As they travel the kites and balloons are whisked away by a strong gust of wind. Some of the kites are blown high into the sky whilst others crash land. Farmer Falgu uses his skills (giving) to create a kite everyone is proud of.      

The next book I'd like to share is by another of the Picture Book Den team Pippa Goodhart

Publication date 31st May 2019

Daddy Frog is so in love with his tadpole (Baby Frog) that he decides to get her a gift (giving), which will show her how much he loves her. So, ignoring her plea to teach her to swim (missing the opportunity to connect) in goes in search of the perfect gift. Daddy Frog misses teaching Baby Frog important froggy things such as wriggle and swimming. But finally shows her how to leap and  also discovers just by being there and doing things together he can show her how much he loves her (re-connecting). 

Looking at connecting from another perspective can be achieved by sharing a book written by yet another 'denner,' Jane Clarke.

Although this book doesn't look at connecting in the way I've highlighted in the other books it is about connections and how we all connect to one another. How an act we do can affect not just the person/animal next to us but others who are nowhere near us. A lesson that is extremely important and links to one of the biggest issues of today, global warming and the degradation of the environment.     

Lastly I want to include these four books written by ex-denner, Moira Butterfield.

These books as a set would cover all of the five ways to wellbeing. For example just this single page from 'Everybody feels... Happy! could be used to talk about:
  • Connecting: spending time with family
  • Giving: being kind or helpful  
  • Taking notice: being aware everyone has feelings and we can have an impact on another person, both positive and negative
  • Keep learning: perhaps learning a new skill e.g. cooking
  • Giving: Not only makes the person receiving the gift feel good but also it provides the giver a lift too 
So next time you read a picture book or discover a new one think about the five ways to wellbeing and 'notice' how what you can pull out and 'give the gift' of 'learning' to the child or children in your life.

Finally if you have any books you feel would lend themselves to teaching the five ways to wellbeing please share them below in the comments.


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