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Changing Perspectives With Change Clouds

Make cardboard or paper frames shaped as clouds using different colours to represent different emotions. Children can pick the frame that best represents their feelings and hold it in front of their faces while sharing how they feel about a certain change.
Hello everybody, welcome back to Unit 4. I’m here with Aashna Poddar of the Easel Lab at Harvard. Hi Ashna. So far in this unit we have been talking about how consistency and predictability are so important in child development and how change and disruption can affect children and affect different people in different ways. So we’re going to explore that idea a little bit more. And Ashley and I are going to walk everybody through an activity that you can repeat with the children in your world, to help them understand what it means to take different perspectives. So welcome Aashna will you start us off. For sure. Hi Carly and hi everyone.
So I’m so excited to be here and talk today about perspective taking, which is a really important part of social and emotional development. It helps children build compassion, empathy, it helps some care for other people and it also helps them solve conflicts. The interesting thing though about it is that it’s learned overtime. So for little babies they can’t really take perspectives of others. And you might have noticed that when you play peekaboo with them or when you play hide and seek with them. They cover their eyes and they think that no one can see them because their eyes are covered. But eventually they can grow up and become people that can take perspective, yes? Oh yes, for sure.
As time goes on and children grow and develop, they slowly begin to understand that oh, someone else can hold a different belief or a different understanding of a situation than I do, and that’s called the Theory of Mind, and that helps them to slowly expand their world view, it helps them to put themselfs in other peoples shoes, because it helps them recognize that they don’t know everything that’s going on in other people’s lives, And they also helps them understand that experiences, emotions, reactions to experiences can default for different people and this is really important in times of stress in times of change and transition because it helps them recognize that they don’t know everything that’s going on in other people’s lives, and it helps them be more compassionate towards others and help and support each other.
OK, so this perspective taking muscle is a worthwhile one to exercise, and we’re going to do that right now with some help from some of our friends from previous units. So first I would like to welcome, from unit 3, Dr. Ashley Nemiro from the MHPSS Collaborative in Denmark. Welcome Ashley. Hi Carly, nice to see you. Nice to see you too. And we’ve got Paul St John Frisoli from the LEGO Foundation who you may remember from Unit 2. Hi Paul. Hi,thanks for having me.
So, as you may know, in the last step I made a change cloud and I created this change cloud to represent a time of change and transition in my life when I was leaving New York, to go on the road and make a TV show for seven months. In order to stretch our perspective taking muscles, I’m wondering Paul and Ashley, if you could sort of guess based on my change cloud how I felt about that transition. Paul, why don’t you start us off. Yeah, well it looks happy and sunny and I can imagine making TV shows is fun. So yeah, maybe that’s what it’s reflecting. OK Ashley. Interesting, I had a different perspective.
I was thinking actually it looks like it was possibly in the summer. It was hot. You were exhausted and maybe this transition was actually difficult for you. But I do see some gold flowers, which might respresent that this was something that was exciting for you and a new opportunity. OK, so you’re you’re both a little bit right I guess. It’s funny. I actually hadn’t thought about it in terms of time and seasons, but the shoot did start in the summer, Ashley And Paul. I did use all this yellow to represent how bright an exciting the time was, but it also was really challenging. These red eyes are very intentional.
We literally took a lot of red eye flights and didn’t sleep much. And my home and like kind of grounded Earth space was definitely disrupted. But it was also sparkly and joyful. So, as we just saw one change cloud could be interpreted a bunch of different ways. So we’re going to play that out right now together. Actually, Ashna and Paul, are you ready to create your own change clouds? Absolutely. You have some materials. Yes, awesome. Very good. OK, I’ll give you a few minutes right now to think about a time of change or transition in your life and then you can make your own change cloud. Remember, this could be a small or large moment of change.
You know, dark and stormy or maybe even quick and brite, whatever you want. And you’re going to have a couple of minutes right now to work on it and then we’ll try to guess what we felt based on what we can see in each others change clouds. So you may begin.
Alright, let’s see them. Let’s see these change clouds. Paul, why don’t you quickly explain what change your cloud represents and then I’ll try to interpret it and you can tell me if I’m right or wrong and then we’ll just go around from there. Yeah, sounds good. I made a big life move to Lego in January. OK, so I can see some weather as part of this experience. I’m imagining that snow at the beginning and I think that the edges, the sharp edges of the cloud means that it was a tricky transition. But it’s also so colorful. I think that it was also joyful. Yeah, you got it.
Cool This was also interesting moving to a new country and there’s a lot of joy in the beginning and excitement and then, well in March 2020, little bit of craziness and then now settling into a new place, I’m feeling a range of different emotions That is one thing I missed, kind of the Ark of the flow of the transition. Cool, and Ashley, why don’t you tell us about your and Paul, you give your perspective on what she makes. Absolutely. So I drew here the Gabonese flag.
My husband and I moved from Gabon in February to Denmark and we moved with our little dog named Kivu and took a flight and I actually drew the plane here because our dog came on the flight with us along with all of our personal belongings. Oh yeah, I imagine that, that could have been tricky time, to bring an animal on a plane and move your whole life and all your belongings. So potentially some exciting times, but also some nerve wracking times. I want to actually weigh in on this. I do those see that the cloud itself is very smooth, so I’m going to suggest that perhaps it was a very smooth and like gentle transition.
You’re both right in a way, so I was thinking actually, when Paul was explaining, that transitions are just tough in general, and moving into a new country can kind of have a rollercoaster of emotions, but in fact you’re right. There was a lot of things that were smooth about living in Denmark. It’s beautiful country, very easy to live in, and it was nice because my whole family was together. Well, OK, Aashna will you show us what you made and Ashley report on it. Although Paul, if you want to weigh in, I just did so you know. So I made a cloud representing a 12 hour road trip that I took from Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania to Boston, MA on a truck.
Wow, So what I see from your change cloud is that at times it was really difficult. No one likes to be in the car for 12 straight hours but also by the smiley face, it was a happy transition There maybe the journey itself was not so smooth, but getting there was was a positive thing. What do you think Ashna? So, it’s partially right. The reason that this side looks a little scared and a little darker than this side, which is smiling and bright is because, before the trip I was extremely nervous, ‘cause I was supposed to be navigating the truck driver and my experience on highways is very limited.
So I was very scared an I was worried that I wouldn’t do a good job. But once we got on the road, I discovered I was actually able to do it, and by the time we reached Boston, I didn’t even realised whole day had passed. So yeah, definitely getting there and even parts of the journey itself were really great. One thing, I think that is so interesting about this is, how all of us sort of suggested something that was kind of right.
But in each case it’s just that there was more to the story, and I think that’s an important reminder as we observe other people and their changes and transitions, and as we guide children through changes in transitions to just remember to help… it helps us remember, that there’s always more to the story. But things are never as simple as they, as they might seem.
So, as everyone at home just saw, this is a great way to really embody the experience of perspective taking and to practice it, So if you would like to do this with the children in your life, we’re going to leave some extra links, and ideas for ways you can make it even more fun, although I think we all just had a pretty good time. Thank you all for joining us and for getting on this little chat. And everybody at home you’re moving on to the next step, so I will see you soon.
Ideas for practicing perspective-taking with Change Clouds
  • Hold the cloud above your head, make a facial expression or say a phrase representing your emotions towards it, and then pass it to the child or next person to do the same.
  • Make clouds that have removable face parts so that children can move the mouth to show that a particular cloud made them feel sad, happy, etc.

Make Your Change Cloud

See example here (Source:
  • Make a cloud out of felt and stick it on a cardboard backing that is passed around so that children can stick-on different coloured felt pieces to represent different emotions.

Changing Perspectives With Colours and Materials

See an example here (Source:
  • Make cardboard or paper frames shaped as clouds using different colours to represent different emotions. Children can pick the frame that best represents their feelings and hold it in front of their faces while sharing how they feel about a certain change.
  • Get different materials (e.g. cardboard, printing paper, cloth, wood, etc.) wet and then dry them out in the sun to represent how change can affect people differently. Use the activity as a starting point to discuss differences in experiences.
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Coping with Changes: Social-Emotional Learning Through Play

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