“Yoko’s Show-and-Tell” by Rosemary Wells


Yesterday, my son came from school as proud as could be. It was finally his turn to take home the sharing chest. One by one, children take the box home and fill it with an object of their choice. Next, they bring it back to the classroom and introduce the item to other children by giving three clues. My son has been practicing the clues for days. Finally he chose the following: “It is shaped like the first letter of my name. (His name is Victor). It is made for outside. It comes back to me.” Have you guessed it was a boomerang?   I thought these were pretty good hints for a five-year old. And I love the whole idea behind the sharing chest.  Not only does this simple show-and-tell drill allow our children to share their passions,  but it is also a great way to introduce the little guys to the art of public speaking. Kids think they just show children their favorite toy, latest craft or a souvenir, but at the same time they learn a bunch of crucial speaking skills. How to overcome the stage-fright, how to sound clear and confident, or how to stick to the time limit, to mention just a few.   As someone who teaches giving business presentations and appreciates an engaging talk,  as opposed to the far-too-common-time-wasting lengthy rambling, I am happy to see that my son is already working on being an eloquent speaker and effective communicator. We all could use more of those at work, outside work and on TV.

If your child is getting anxious about his or her first show-and-tell, you can help them to pluck up some courage by reading a book on the topic. It’s always good to see how someone else has done it and either follow their example or learn from their mistakes.  Rosemary Wells has a few good titles to choose from.  In “Yoko’s Show-and-Tell” children learn to consider their choices. Was it smart to bring a cute Japanese doll to school? Apparently not so much. (My son’s Spanish teacher for example, does not allow store-bought toys for example. As a parent I really appreciate that restriction. Kids are willy-nilly the best advertisers.) In “Henry’s 100 Days of Kindergarten” by Nancy Carlson, children learn to think outside the box. Bringing a 100 years old grandpa to celebrate 100 days of school is quite an idea!  And if you just want to help your child relax  before their first public performance and get some healthy laughs, go for “Big Bug Surprise” by Julia Gran. You can find more about the last two books in one of my previous posts.

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