The Day I Became Strong in the Pandemic
Virtual Storytelling Clubs foster resilience of children
Children all over the world are affected by the measures that have been taken to encounter the COVID-10 pandemic. Children have to cope with lock-downs, online schooling, not being able to meet their friends. And they have to deal with their own fears and the worries of the parents and other people they feel connected to.
In order to help children and young people to become aware of their own competencies in dealing with those challenges, the PRIX JEUNESSE Foundation and the IZI have developed a virtual Storytelling Club that promotes resilience, creativity and mental health of children and makes them aware of their own strength in times of the pandemic.
The project is suitable for children from eight to twelve years. Using digital technology, small groups of children connect and meet for five times. In the virtual meetings they write, draw and tell their own strong stories which helps them to become aware of their own strengths and capabilities. Additional exercises promote the children’s self-confidence and communication skills.
Each meeting last for about two hours. A rhythm of two meetings per week is ideal, but the meetings can also take place once a week, or during one packed week with one meeting per day. Below you find an overview of the agenda of the Virtual Storytelling Club.
Two successful virtual Storytelling Club were conducted in October 2020 in Brazil. The colleagues who had organized the sessions were deeply impressed by the experience and the outcome. “When we saw those kids became stronger just by sharing their stories and reflecting on it, it was wonderful. I’m really grateful for this experience, it has arrived in an important moment for us as well as for them”, says Thaisa Oliveira from Midiativa.
The virtual version of the Storytelling Club is based on the concept of analogue Storytelling Clubs that have been successfully conducted worldwide since 2017. The webpage www.storytellingclub.org gives you the full information as well as holds a comprehensive handout for pedagogues.
Stories that emerge from virtual Storytelling Clubs can serve as the base for an episode of the international coproduction series “The Day I Became Strong”, now with the additional focus, “The Day I Became Strong in the Pandemic”. If you are a broadcaster or producer interested in participating in this international coproduction series, get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org
Overview on the agenda of the Virtual Storytelling Club:
(For more detailed explanation please refer to the handout for pedagogues for an analogue Storytelling Club which can be downloaded at www.storytellingclub.org).
Day 1: Introduction, clarifying the aim and identifying one’s own strength
- Introduction: The children meet online, and introduce themselves with three things: “My name is …. I love … and I’m good at …”
- What we are aiming for: The pedagogue explains the basic idea and the aim to jointly write a book with strong stories that will help other children to better cope with the situation of the pandemic. First step is to see one’s own strength but therefore we need some rules: We listen to each other, raise the virtual hand …
- Hand exercise: “What I have done really well in the pandemic”. The children read to each other what they have written down and get the homework to ask five people who are important to them to do the same.
- Watching three films of My #QuarantineLife (to be found on YouTube) and talk about what the children have done really well in this difficult situation.
- Talking and drawing about everyday life in the pandemic and what the children do in their quarantine life. Each one draws a picture of their favorite activity during this time (no more than 10 minutes) and shares it with the group.
- Becoming aware of feelings: Using Emoji cards the children talk about different emotions you can have in the pandemic and how they dealt with it. This will be the theme of the next session.
Introduction of organizational details: All pictures they children draw go into in a special envelope.
- Homework: Hand exercise
Develop a good bye ritual: How can we say good bye?…
Day 2: Tips to deal with feelings
- Welcome: Everyone introduces him/herself with a quickly drawn emoji how they feel right now
- Hand exercise: What have others written in your hand? What did you like about this exercise?
- The day I overcame a bad feeling: There are also emotions which give us a bad time. We want to help other kids to deal with these difficult feelings. The children talk about situations in the pandemic when they felt not good and how they overcame this. They all (on their own in 10 minutes) draw a situation where they felt this way and write down what hints they would give a child that feels the same way.
- Telling the stories: The children summarize their stories and hints.
- Collecting tips: The hints of the children are collected and written down.
Organizational details: Collection of hints in an envelope.
- Homework: A lot of things are different in the pandemic: for example no school, parents in home office, the danger of getting infected. These are the big and obvious things. But what are the small things which are different now, which might be difficult to see for others and are making a difference in the life of children? Every child should collect three things (beside no school, no sports, parents at home) that are different and make an important difference for them.
Day 3: The Day I solved a problem in the pandemic
- Welcome: Everyone says hi by naming something they admire and like at another person of the group.
- Things that are different now: Every child reads their findings. The group talks about what is difficult in these different times, where it causes problems and how they managed to deal with it.
- The day I solved a problem: The children look for a story in their life in the pandemic when they overcame a problem. They briefly talk about the situations and solutions, the importance of problem solving thinking (what happens if I do this, what happens if I do that etc. and what would be the best solution) and about having the trust that you can find a way.
- Drawing a comic on the Day I solved a problem in the pandemic (25-30 minutes): The children divide a sheet with a pencil into six parts and draw into each part: 1. These are the people who were part of the situation. 2. This is the problem. 3. This is what I thought what I can do. 4. This is how I reacted. 5. This is what happened then. 6. This is how it ends.
- Sharing the comic: every child tells their story
Organizational detail: Pictures go into the envelope
- Singing the “We’re Going on a Lion Hunt” song” together
Homework: Prepare a big piece of paper out of four Din A4 or three Din A 3 and write on the top: The Day I became strong in the pandemic
Day 4: The day I became strong in the pandemic
- Introduction: A great thing I remembered about you… everyone names something good they remember about another group member.
Preparation for today’s story:
Cut two Din A4 papers each into four parts so that you get eight sheets. Write the following headlines on each paper, including numbers:
1. That’s me in the pandemic,
2. That is the situation I got into,
3. That’s how I felt and how the others felt,
4. That’s what I thought,
5. That is how I reacted,
6. That’s what happens then,
7. This is what I have learned from the situation,
8. This is my tip to other children in the same situation.
- Meditation: Brief meditation about challenging situations in the pandemic: Close your eyes and think about how you felt, what you have learned, what you have done well. Remember a moment when you discovered how strong you actually are, a moment full of confidence when you thought: Wow, I am much stronger, smarter, reacted the right way.
- Tell a story in eight steps with little drawings and one or two sentences per sheet of paper (25-30 minutes)
- Sharing the story with feedback: Each time two other children get the role to say what he/she really has done well in this situation (no critic please).
- Singing “Flee Fly Flo”
Day 5: Choosing the stories I really like
- Introduction: What I really liked in this Storytelling Club
- Looking at all stories again: The children look through the three stories they have produced and choose their favorite
- Working on tips for other children: They go over the tips for dealing with bad emotions, finding a solution in difficult situations and seeing their own strength.
- Concrete plans: They discuss and plan what they want to be the concrete outcome of this STC (a joint book or alike).
- What I have learned: Writing down four things you have learned in the Storytelling Club and share them with the group.
- Good bye: A big thank you.