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Supporting Emotional Literacy through ‘Felix After the Rain’

Felix After the Rain is the perfect book for exploring emotions.

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We were absolutely over the moon when the wonderful Danielle got in touch with us about the art her brilliant class had produced after reading Felix After the Rain! Danielle Jarman is a teacher at Elizabeth Woodville Primary School in Leicestershire. She was kind enough to write about her experience of using books like Felix After the Rain as tool to support emotional literacy. Despite her children only being six and seven(!), we definitely have some future artists on our hands… Read what she had to say below.

Danielle Jarman, primary school teacher

Last week, deep in the heart of every school in the country, teachers were exploring emotions and feelings with their children for Mental Health week. After reflecting on the emotional needs of my class, I decided to focus on emotional literacy this week.

In my very short experience (five years) of teaching, I’ve found that children struggle with emotional literacy. Children often resort to using the 2 most common basic emotion types ‘sad’ and ‘happy’ to describe their feelings. (This refers to the work of Ekman in the 1970s – which founded 4, then 6 original emotion types, which could be conveyed with a simple facial gesture.)

Felix After the Rain is a perfect book to explore a range of emotions. It uncovers feelings using different colours in a variety of ways. Felix After the Rain is about a little boy, who doesn’t realise he is subconsciously carrying negative feelings around with him all the time. It enabled the children to understand how that might make a person feel. Whilst reading the book, the children in my class, referred to sadness as a ‘heavy feeling on your chest’. The illustrations on each page shaped the children’s ability to relate to individual feelings.

Children explore their feelings through pictures.

The book promoted a class discussion on why it’s important to release negative feelings by sharing them with other people. One child, who had recently lost a grandparent, said ‘My Nanna said that it’s good to cry the sad tears away, because it makes room for the happy tears’.

Children thought about what feelings they associated with different colours.

In Felix After the Rain, you can clearly see how colour can be used to show emotion. I have found this extremely useful when teaching pupils, the connections between emotions and colours. Adults have intrinsic knowledge, that we take for granted. Problems arise when we assume that children will instinctively make those connections and know this too.

In class, we looked at the emotions we felt matched each colour and explained why. Exploring links like this, in depth, enhances and builds a deeper awareness of inference; it allows children to apply these connections with colour when engaging in descriptive thinking and writing.

Following this exploration of emotion and colour, children successfully produced emotionally resonant art inspired by Felix After the Rain.

A lovely book that captured the essence of emotion for primary age children. My class absolutely adored it and left the classroom with a deeper understanding of emotional literacy and the ability to demonstrate a wider emotional resonance. I can’t wait to share it with the rest of the school!

Danielle Jarman

Danielle’s stunning display of all the children’s art!

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