Discussion: Problem Solving with Persona Dolls

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As you explored this week, persona dolls provide a great basis for learning and can be used to help young children communicate about a wide range of complex issues and situations. With persona dolls, children are given opportunities to be creative and expressive, to work with others, and to develop a respect for and understanding of others’ values and ideas. They also help children learn how to navigate and solve "real" problems and examine feelings such as fear, frustration, anticipation, and vulnerability.

In the media segment you viewed this week, you saw an early childhood teacher introduce a persona doll to his preschool group. Review the media segment and carefully consider:

  • How might the children identify with Mickey?
  • In what ways did the teacher make the doll "real" to the children?
  • How did the teacher "set the stage" for future stories and problem-solving?

Now, reflect on the information presented in the Persona Doll Training website (http://www.persona-doll-training.org/ukhome.html) and the article, "Problem Solving with Young Children Using Persona Dolls." As revealed in these resources, persona dolls work effectively because children make a connection, i.e., identify with the dolls and develop feelings of friendship and empathy. Based on this special connection, the dolls can also help children see the injustice of particular situations, consider ideas and actions from various perspectives, and inspire children to think of solutions to the problems that the dolls present to them.

In this Discussion, you will explore ways in which to use persona dolls to help children participate in the process of considering, understanding, and solving specific problems.

To begin, identify a problem related to an "–ism" (racism, classism, ableism, religionism, sexism, heterosexism, LGBT ism, ageism) that may come up as young children interact and express their feelings and emotions. For example, in the article "Problem Solving with Young Children Using Persona Dolls," the teacher uses a persona doll, Tanisha, to address a problem related to racial prejudice that she is noticing in her classroom. The teacher explains that Tanisha’s feelings have been hurt because some children did not want to play with her because of the color of her skin.

By Day 3

Post:

A problem statement is written from the point of view of a persona doll (like the example with Tanisha: "No one will play with me because they don’t like the color of my skin. That hurts my feelings and makes me mad.")

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