Welcome toBig Heart World
Big Heart World is an initiative produced by Sparkler in collaboration with Noggin that enables parents and educators to help children explore what it means to have a “big heart” and how to grow one. This means:
- Learning About Me — Awareness of self: identity & belonging, feelings and self-regulation
- Learning About You — Awareness of others: empathy, appreciation of diversity
- Learning About Us — Relationships with others: interpersonal strategies
To succeed in school and in life, children can’t just be little mathematicians, readers, and scientists; they need to grow confident in themselves; they need to understand others; and they need to work together with others to solve problems. Educators and pediatricians often refer to this set of skills as “social and emotional” skills. We like to think of them as what it takes to have “a big heart.”
“Heart” skills are always important, but they are especially top-of-mind today as we cope with global pandemic, inequality, and social discord. Families and educators are wondering:
- How can I help my child manage feelings, especially anger, frustration, and sadness?
- How can I help my child develop social and communication skills when they’re separate from peers?
- How can I prepare my child to “phase back in” and restart “normal” life?
Big Heart World is a place where parents, caregivers, and educators can ask and answer big questions related to children’s social and emotional learning. If you’re wondering how to help your child express their feelings, figure out friendships, share, get ready to go back into a classroom, or learn what makes them special, this site is for you. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the pandemic, school closures, and endless change and transition, this site is for you. If you feel like you can’t handle one more tantrum and you want to know what your child is really trying to tell you when they act out, this site is for you.
Each month, Big Heart World will provide new science-based, engaging content, including Noggin’s Big Heart Beats music videos, answers from experts, podcasts, play-based learning activities, and more.
The work draws from a body of research that recognizes the vital importance of these skills to children’s positive outcomes. Social and emotional development in early childhood lays the foundation for children’s development throughout life. Helping young children build the skills today to develop positive relationships, feel confident in themselves, identify and manage their emotions, and stand up for what is right, will help them to succeed in school and transform them into the leaders and change-makers of tomorrow (C. C. Raver, 2002).
Below, learn more about the themes Big Heart World will explore so you know what to expect.
We’ve all been through a lot in the last year. Take a deep breath. Let’s build up ourselves; let’s build up our kids. Let’s build big hearts.
How wonderful would it be if everyone lived in a Big Heart World?
Problem Solving: Unit 5
“In times of stress, the best thing we can do for each other is to listen with our ears and our hearts and to be assured that our questions are just as important as our answers.” — Fred Rogers
Everyone is bound to find themselves in a disagreement from time to time — especially children who are new to the ideas of cooperating, collaborating, and being good friends. Though conflicts are inevitable, parents, caregivers, and educators can help children learn skills to resolve conflicts and problem solve together with their friends.
There are many skills that children may need to access to help them solve problems with friends, including the ability to calm themselves down after they get upset; the ability to clearly express their own point of view and listen to others’ perspectives; and the willingness to collaborate and pitch in to work together on a team effort. Big Heart World skills that you practiced with your child in previous months like understanding the feelings, empathizing with others, and skills related to friendship like sharing and taking turns also come into play.
As children explore the activities, books, music, and other content from Unit 6, they will start to understand that they have the power to solve their own interpersonal problems! They will feel increasingly confident in their ability to navigate challenging moments with friends, and they’ll help others to feel that way, too. When children enter school and their social circles expand to include peers with different backgrounds and perspectives, the ability to solve interpersonal problems will become even more important. Developing these skills early will help children to navigate new relationships and make learning together more fun.
Big Heart World: What to Expect
What does it mean to have a big heart? That’s a BIG question! Big Heart World will roll out content each month, which will empower you to teach your children about “me” (identity & belonging, feelings, and similarities & differences), then about “others” (friendship, empathy, and problem solving), and about “us” (helping, standing up, and citizenship). Here’s what to expect:
Interacting with others and treating them with kindness helps us form strong relationships.
Sharing, listening to others, solving problems together, and taking turns helps us collaborate with others.
Being kind, fair, and helping others helps us become great friends, neighbors, and community members.
When we see something wrong, we can learn to stand up for what’s right. Learning to stand up will help children grow up to be change-makers.
Each of us is part of a BIG world: together, we can make the world a better, kinder place.