Here’s a great activity for not only teaching kids about their needs, but to help them in assessing their current functioning.
Have each child cut out a star, and paste their picture in the middle. Each point of the star represents one need – they can either draw the symbol for each need on each point, or use appropriately shaped stickers or foam shapes for each need.
Throughout the day, or when working through conflicts, ask the child to consider which of their needs are currently not being effectively met, and fold in the corresponding point of the star for each unmet need.
For example, suppose a child comes in from recess upset about a conflict with another student. Often what happens is that we ask for details of what happened, and when the child explains that they got angry that no one was playing the game properly, we launch into a lecture about how they cannot be so bossy, and that they should go find somewhere else to play if they can’t get along with the other kids.
Using the star guides the conversation in a different direction. Instead of asking for all the details of what happened, you ask them to pull out their star, and fold down the points of the needs that are causing them problems. They fold down the fun point (the balloon) because they wanted to play a game at recess, and it didn’t work. They also fold down the the power (star) point, explaining that they were trying to get everyone organized into playing the game, and that no one would listen. When the other kids got angry and called him “bossypants”, it made him feel unwanted, so the love and belonging (heart) point gets folded down as well.
Solving the problem now becomes an exercise in figuring out how to meet those needs. Having a child consider how they can have fun with the other kids in a way that will work out better will solve the problem much more effectively than simply playing somewhere else. It takes a lot of skill to get kids organized into a fun game, and although it’s easier to tell kids to play elsewhere, it’s worth the time to help a child figure out how to be a more effective leader.
Are there scenarios you can see that the star could be a useful tool?