Let children's thoughts run wild

21st February 2003 at 00:00
"WHERE the Wild Things Are" starts with a little boy, Max, being naughty.

When his mother scolds him, Max gets angry and shouts back at her. He is sent to bed without supper. Max imagines his bedroom transforming into a forest with an ocean and a boat, he sails to the land of wild things and has great fun. But when he smells cooking, he sets sail for home, arriving in his bedroom to find supper ready.

The children's classic by Maurice Sendak can be used to prompt discussions on anger, relationships and dreaming.

After reading the story, children think of things to discuss. Ideas are framed in questions, such as "what does this story make you wonder about?"

One question is chosen for debate. The children then build on each other's thoughts, giving reasons why they agree or disagree. They are encouraged to listen carefully, direct the discussion to each other and show respect for different opinions. By doing this even young children can move from reading about a dream, to debating the nature of dreams and reality.

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