One of the most powerful ways for children to learn about respect is to learn to know and appreciate one another. Dancing Moose embraces the uniqueness of each child; and teachers, who bring their own rich diversity to the school, encourage children to appreciate one another’s feelings and unique contributions. Seeing and befriending children who make look or speak differently is a great place to begin thinking about the benefits of difference; and addressing feelings routinely helps children to develop qualities of respect, empathy, and appreciation. For example, if one child is insensitive to another, the importance of positive comments becomes a topic of discussion at circle time. Stories that reinforce these qualities complement these discussions. In addition, children have opportunities for genuine conversations where they can share qualities that are unique to each of them; they are also guided to share thoughts about how to be a friend, what encourages or hurts the feelings of others, and how to resolve differences that cause hurt feelings.
Appreciating difference is an important concept as children mature in their school experience, but too often it is not deliberately acted upon in early childhood. When children talk and share experiences, they learn to know and appreciate each other, and this should begin as early as possible. Dancing Moose school activities encourage this kind of communication: working together, talking together, and expressing feelings.