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Superheroes, and how this can benefit young children’s learning.

01 June 2018

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This term, I am sure you have heard lots of Superhero talk in the F2 classes. Their final iEYC topic of the year is called ‘To The Rescue’. The children have been learning to become superheroes that use their power for good and not bad things. Some of the activities have involved making superhero costumes and designing masks. Children were involved in drawing their own superheroes and discussed what special powers they would have. We provided a large amount of new books for the children to inspire and prompt their creative talk and play including ‘Supertato’ which can be found on Youtube. The topic also supported scientific concepts like the power of freezing or melting objects.
One class pretended Spiderman came to visit and left his mask and they wrote letters to him to tell him to come back to collect it prompting lots of mark making and discussion. Both classes involved the children in lots of preparations for superhero training where they had to complete obstacle courses by balancing along equipment and jumping between steps.
Superhero play can be controversial across the world with Early Years’ practitioners as some believe it encourages violence whereas others believe it’s a way children are able to develop their personal, social and emotional skills by empathising with the superheroes and learning to use their powers for good. In the Early Years at BVIS, we do not agree with children making weapons with the intention of hurting their friends but we do agree with them making objects that they can help their friends with, like magic wands, to make a friend better if they fall over and hurt themselves.
An article from the education.com magazine quotes ‘Most superheroes put their lives on the line to catch criminals and help people in need or trouble… Moral characteristics that can be instilled in the heroic narrative… are important content to try to convey.’ We agree with not only using this topic for enjoyment and fun but as a way of teaching the children about morals that are required in life. How can they be kind and helpful every day? We have been showing them how to make their friends happy by sharing and their teachers by stopping and tidying up when asked. As an Early Years team, we have found this topic challenging to teach but have embraced it.  The children have been extremely engaged throughout which has been immensely rewarding for the staff who teach them. 
Next week, we will be having our last ‘Stay and Play’ session of the year on maths. Please come along and support your child at this event between 3:00pm and 4:00pm on Thursday 7th June 2018.

Miss Julie Walton
Head of Early Years