One of the posters in my new space at the shelter shows a little Star Wars-type, gangly-legged metal robot. Standing directly across from him is a robot that looks just like him. But he's four times as big as the little robot. In child-like script, the little robot asks, "Are you my father?"
In my first group last week, a little boy immediately volunteered to tell a story about the "robots in the poster." His story involved the big robot trying to get the little robot to come home with him. Apparently, his school or teacher has done a good job on stranger danger. Because the little robot almost went home with him but changed his mind, said No! and ran home. And his mom hugged him. The child's "lesson" for the story was "Don't go with someone you don't know."
For once, my story wasn't that different. What I added were feelings--of confusion, since little robots are supposed to do what big robots tell them; of fear because the big robot was soooo much bigger, and of triumph when the little guy said No! and ran home. My lesson was "It's fine to say No! and get away if s stranger tries to make friends with you."
Two other kids added their experiences with strangers and I reinforced their good decision to get away. People complain that schools are taking over the training parents should do. I've seen lessons like this in schools where I've worked. They are organized, the message is repetitive, and the CD or book holds their interest.
I don't think I could have done as good a job with this topic when my kids were little. Can you?