Dolls: Pretend Play for Real Empathy
Between making sense of their surroundings as well as themselves, and developing and practising important skills -- dolls are an integral tool in early childhood education.
Our first in a series on using dolls in an early years classroom, we'll look at how careful doll selection can encourage empathy and cultural understanding in young children.
Tanya R. Altmann, M.D., a pediatrician in West Lake Village, California, and author of Caring for Your Baby and Young Child tells Parents.com* that role playing with dolls is an effective and fun way to prepare children for an addition to the family.
Many schools have empathy programs in the early years that combine the regular visit of a mother and her newborn with lessons anchored by realistic dolls. They mirror caregivers behaviour, practising with the dolls, between the mother and infant visits.
Giving students a newborn sized doll can provoke pretend play that fosters responsibility, empathy and social skills.
These Lots to Love Newborn dolls feature unique facial expressions and eye colours capturing a wide variety of emotions.
Carefully selecting doll sets with a variety of skin tones, eye colours, and dress can expose children at a young age to a wide range of not only cultures, but physical abilities and body traits.
Whereas the Special Kids dolls combine different assisting tools (wheelchairs, crutch, guide dog) with the different dolls.
So snap a pic and share showing how your kids, school, or childcare centre puts their doll collection to use!
- Katherine Robb