As a part of Mental Health Week, we embarked on a challenge and experiment we had read about.
Our Educators bought a bag of balloons, blew them up and gave one to every student and wrote their name on it, they then threw it into the hallway and mixed them all up.
We challenged our 45 children, by giving them 30 seconds to find their own balloon. A very small number (5) of the children only managed to find their own balloon, but the majority of children could not find their balloon. As the second stage of our experiment, we then told the students to pick-up the closest balloon to them and hand it to the student whose name was written on the balloon. We timed this. Within about 40 seconds every student had their own balloons and a big smile on their faces and were happy.
Miss Tracey then said to the children, “If these balloons represented your happiness and most of you didn’t find your balloon the first time, were you very happy?” There was a loud resounding “NO” from the children. Miss Tracey explained that it was very difficult to find happiness, if everyone was only looking for their own balloon. “So if the balloons represented happiness and if we care about other people and helped them by giving their balloon to them, we will all be happy too". This was followed by a loud “YES” as every student agreed with this theory. “So do you understand, we may never find our own happiness if we only look for our own.“
There were some big “Ahhh” moments from the older children and lots of excitement and discussion. With a little further explanation, the younger children also understood. The older children were so supportive of the younger children to explain this. As a group we then discussed other ways to make people happy or help them.
We received lots of amazing examples from the children on how to help others
- if you find a watch take it to the lost property or to it’s owner (year 4)
- if someone is sad, go and sit with them and be a friend (year 2);
- if someone is being bullied, you could take them away from that situation (Year 4) ;
- if someone doesn’t have any friends, be nice to them and ask to be their friend (Year 3);
Surprisingly, our discussion then diverted with some previous discussions the children had had about how to stop bullying.
One young boy asked what if it is your bully was actually the one who is upset, what do we do then? We put the question to the children – If someone who has been mean to you, upset you or bullies you, what could you do if you saw them sad? One of our senior girls said “ you can still be nice to them and try to make them happy coz that’s the nice thing to do”. Lots of other children agreed and said “yeh if someone’s sad we can all try to make them happy.” Miss Tracey added “sometimes, just sometimes if you’re nice to a bully it might stop them from making people sad and you might help them to be happy and nice going forward and they may become your friend?”
This was a very insightful experiment which generated helps of rich conversations, collaboration and learnings amongst the children. It was inspiring to watch!
To top off our experiment one of our gorgeous prep children gave us a little laugh by saying that she did not have a balloon at home, coz its not her birthday, so could she please take her happiness balloon with her when she goes home to share the happiness.
Our next extension activity will be making posters of the little things we can do everyday to make us and other happy!
What a happy, happy day we had today at After School Care!!