Should we use Superhero themes in school

Cathrine - posted on 06/03/2016 ( 10 moms have responded )

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I am a mom of a 3 year old and a teacher in the Early Years. My son is in one of the well known international educational systems and they have decided to added a Superhero theme to their units this year. I know that this can be a fun unit for children but I also have some major issues with the unit

one of their vocabulary words is 'sidekick' this is not a word I would want my little one to use. I do not want him to think of anyone as his sidekick..... One of the other words was transform and there is a picture of the superhero transforming from human to superhero.... that is not what transform means...

The unit later on ask the children to design their own costume and build a den. But more concerning is when they are asking them to think of ways they could defend their den.... What educational value will my son get out of learning or just thinking about possible super defense mechanisms he could design.....

Is this what we want our children to be learning about in preschool???

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Sarah - posted on 06/03/2016

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It is called imagination. Nothing wrong with that as long as it is not violent. Imagination builds the brain and thinking. It is a GREAT education tool. They develop great writing and story telling. They develop great problem solving. Education is not just your ABC'S and 123's. You could have a kid that is very book smart, but can't use any of that because they have poor problem solving. Whether you have a lesson about superheros or not most boys that age are some kind of superhero and will play superheros. Sometimes people want to take out everything because the "might" be a negative to it. Instead why not talk about it and teach our kids how to act and be. Imagination is a good thing....without it there would be no electricity, no machines, no new or better ways of doing things, no Dr. Suess, no paintings, no music......all these come from imagination.

♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 06/03/2016

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Personally? I think you're overthinking and reading entirely too much into a program designed to help kids use their imaginations...

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Sarah - posted on 06/03/2016

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I posted earlier and I stand by keeping any sort of violence, even imaginary, out of the curriculum. As far as the vocab, I still think that is splitting hairs. They are little kids and the words used can be loosely defined.

Cathrine - posted on 06/03/2016

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Thank you ladies for your input. Your responses are very interesting..... Perhaps I am over sensitive about this issue. It is just that I received a copy of the 150 page unit with activities and I still feel concerned about some of the content. I agree that if it is just about their imagination or having fun, it should not be harmful, however I do think that moms should take some time to analyse what our children are learning and how it is presented. It is all in the presentation and delivering of the unit.......

Ev - posted on 06/03/2016

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I look at this from the point of view that violence in schools should be kept to a minimum. I also do not think that this is a proper unit to use in a school based curriculum. As having been a preschool teacher myself for years, we were not allowed to use super heroes really at all. The only exception was during Halloween when they were allowed to dress up. The kids did come to school and try to use "Hand formed guns" or sticks as guns but that was immediately put a stop too.

Now if it was used in the sense where this defend the den is part of the unit--not a good idea. The kids again would go to how to blow up the others who try to get into the den in the first place.

I advocate an imagination. Do not think I do but I do think there are other creative ways to do this without the super heroes.

♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 06/03/2016

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Honestly...as I read more, you are REALLY nitpicking.

You take issue with the use of the word "transform" in relation to the transformation from Clark Kent to Superman and say that "that is not what transform means"...yet I give you the Merriam-Webster definition: "Full Definition of transform
transitive verb
1
a : to change in composition or structure
b : to change the outward form or appearance of
c : to change in character or condition : convert
2
: to subject to mathematical transformation" So, using the word "transform" in relation to a plain person changing into a super hero is actually the PROPER use of the term. Sidekick...Not a "bad word"...Not cursing...I, myself have sidekicks in my hubs, my friends, and my kids...

I have to say that, if you overthink this to this point now, you're going to be one stressed out momma in a year or so...

Sarah - posted on 06/03/2016

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Was this a shift in curriculum or an addition to current lessons? I do see your point, but if this is only applying to the Early Learning program it may prove useful in keeping kids invested?
I would take issue with the defense of the den also especially if kids started coming up with violent or deadly options. In the current era of school violence, a focus on making peace rather then defending territory could be a better angle. Also the use of magical thinking in this platform is potentially dangerous. Kids can also use their own superhero to create a hierarchy outside the classroom; "my superhero can blow your guy up, so I am the boss"
About the term "transform", I agree it may be not the proper use of the word but maybe it is splitting hairs a bit. "Transitioning" or even "changing" would be more accurate, but what age group exactly are you dealing with?
Sidekicks are often the key to the hero's success, so if it is framed in that light, I am not sure that would be an issue for me.

Cathrine - posted on 06/03/2016

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Thanks for your comment Evelyn! I am actually trying to fight it at the moment. They introduced this unit as "trail" in the school. A trail I might add we were not informed about and the unit is not on list of units that was presented to us in the beginning of the year.

I really just want my son to believe in his own intrinsic powers. I do not need him to pretend to have x-ray vision and he is already so busy, I am really concerned that he might try out flying or try to let fire come out of his hand....

I have a no weapon policy in my house and he doesn't have any weapon toys and yet he now needs to think of what superpower he wants to have. Last time I checked superheroes are aggressive and have to attack the bad guys... mmmm

I am confused why so many cartoons were stopped over the years because they had a negative impact on our children and yet we are now introducing a potentially dark theme in preschool....

Ev - posted on 06/03/2016

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Then maybe it is time to rethink the school he is in if you do not want to go along with the units they are teaching. I for one would think that Superheros would not be a theme for a unit in a preschool. When I taught we used different kinds of curriculum that held themes for reading, art, nursery rhymes, alphabet, manners, growing things, vehicles, and so on. Superheros were only allowed on Halloween when the kids dressed up for the annual trick or treat within the preschool. Kids would bring backpacks with their heros on them but that was as far as it went.

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