‘My Voice Matters’: Exploring Voices, Emotions & Responses Using the News
It’s Children’s Mental Health Week, so this blog shares how exploring a news story can help you reflect the 2024 theme, ‘My Voice Matters’, in school this week and beyond!
Encouraging children to determine and share their opinions about a news story is a fantastic way to show them that their voice matters… here’s how!
Expressing opinions, ideas & interests
A news story is a helpful stimulus for children to voice their ideas, views and passions.
Create a safe space for children to build their confidence and communicate their response to a news story.
This could be news about the weather, climate change, space, technology etc.
Discussing thoughts and opinions based on real-life learning will boost children’s self-awareness, as they realise their own interests and decide their views. Using current affairs for this exercise exposes children to topics which may otherwise not be discussed in school!
To get children using their voices, try sentence openers like:
I think… because…
I feel… because…
I know… because…
I prefer… because…
I am interested in this because…
I am not interested in this because…
The best thing is…
The worst thing is…
Developing emotional literacy
The DfE says by the end of primary school, children should know:
- There is a normal range and scale of emotions that all humans experience, relative to their situations.
- To recognise and talk about their emotions, including having a varied vocabulary of words to use when talking about their own and others’ feelings.
By voicing how a news topic makes them feel, children develop an understanding of their emotions, and the emotions and reactions of people around them.
Respect and empathy for others
With a news story as the focus for voicing ideas, children learn that everyone has different emotions and responses.
Using voices also reveals different perspectives and life experiences to children, broadening their understanding and empathy for others.
Hearing a variety of thoughts and opinions about the news reminds children that we should listen to and respect people’s voices, even if they think differently to us.
A key takeaway
Remember the message of Children’s Mental Health Week can last this week and beyond! You can use the news to develop emotional literacy and practise using voices at any time of the year.
To help you get started, here’s a free Picture News pack, including an emotion grid and open questions!