Harold in Kaikōura

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Harold the giraffe and his side-kick Genevieve have been visiting Kaikōura, enjoying the sunshine and chatting to our awesome youth about Life Education.

Suburban School had Harold strutting his stuff in the trusty trailer recently, with some very special content based around anxiety and stress as a result of the earthquakes. They had requested that Harold and Genevieve base their talk around anxiety, stress and fears, and how to deal with these emotions when you feel overwhelmed.

The session started out with Genevieve doing her introductions and welcomes, with a focus on complimenting each other. Harold heard the noise in the trailer and was a little scared to come out at first. He put on his big pink sunglasses, which made him feel a little bit braver. All the new faces in the trailer were a little overwhelming and he was worried!

Genevieve explained what Harold was feeling and the group talked about how it is hard to feel brave when you are worried. Everyone played a game where you had to pop up if there was something that made you feel worried or scared. 

Some of the worries that came up were earthquakes, tsunamis, friends and family getting hurt and the dark.

After some discussion about these feelings, the group moved on - reading through "The Wolf and the Shadow Monster" by Avril McDonald. It is a story about finding ways to help deal with our worries. 

Harold had sneakily given the book to the teachers before his visit, so the kids knew how the story went. Together, they went through the book, talking about how the Wolfgang was scared of the shadow monster (who only came out at night). Wolfgang told his friends about how he was scared, and then they started to worry too. Genevieve asked the children what they thought Wolfgang and his friends were feeling.

Scared, sad, nervous and worried were common suggestions. 

Genevieve then asked what it FEELS like to be scared or worried. "In your tummy." "You can get goosebumps." "Sometimes I get it in my head like a headache." "My brain gets to be a bit hot," were some of the replies.

Genevieve emphasised that it's important that we recognise this is WHAT we are feeling, and think about WHY those feelings are there.

The story ended with Wolfgang and his friends imagining the monster as something cute and fluffy. They left the light on in his bedroom, which made everyone feel safer and happier at night, something that made dealing with the worry a little bit better.

When the children were asked what they thought wolfgang and his friends were feeling at the end of the story, the kids came up with "brave," "safe," "sleepy," "spectacular" and "powerful." All awesome ways to describe positive feelings!

The session finished off with a song, that Genevieve said could be used when you feel worried or stressed.

"I am safe, I am healthy, I am happy, I am calm." 

After everyone got a photo with Harold, they trotted out the door of the trusty trailer with some tools of the trade in dealing with anxiety, worries, stress and fear. 

The session was a great educational opportunity, with Genevieve and Harold shaping it around the worries and fears of earthquakes. It gave the children some tools to help deal with those worrying or stressful emotions, as well as a platform to voice their fears. 

Thanks to Suburban School for letting Kim (KDC) sit in on the session, and thanks to Genevieve and Harold for providing such a great learning opportunity for our local future leaders.  

9 May 2018