Persona Dolls
Kinderwelten
A brief history…
The persona doll method was developed in
the USA…
And then brought to Europe by:
Babette Brown, London, UK
Marianne Egedahl, Copenhagen, Denmark
and
Anke van Keulen, Utrecht, The Netherlands
…who adapted and further developed the
approach for a western European context
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What are Persona Dolls?
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Persona Dolls are Dolls with a personality.
They have a name, a family, a history,
things they like and don‘t like. They have
a home and speak one or more languages,
they have favorite food, and there are
some foods they don‘t eat at all, they
enjoy doing certain things, and at others
they‘re not very good.
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Persona Dolls represent the diversity in
our world
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The Persona Dolls visit the children in the
day-care centre or at school and invite
the children to talk with them.
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Persona DollsFor which age group?
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You can use the Persona Doll for
working with school children, but also
with children under 5 and as young as
1,5 to 2 years.
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Anti-Bias Education
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The Persona Dolls support the
educator in addressing
challenging issues:
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anger, conflicts, sadness.
experiences with exclusion and
discrimination, with injustice and name
calling
The method supports anti-bias
education
The anti-bias approach
was developed in California, USA, by Louise
Derman-Sparks and her colleagues. In the
Kinderwelten Project it was adapted and
developed further for the German context.
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The Anti-Bias-Approach…
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encompasses Prejudices and Biases of every kind
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addresses all children
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takes into account each childs family culture and his/her
concrete day-to-day life (in contrast to a „national“ culture)
is integrated into the every-day work in the day-care
centre
can be differentiated from „colourblind“ and „touristic“
approaches to intercultural work.
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Anti-Bias goal 1:
Supporting the development of a
confident and well-informed selfand group identity of each child
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Identifying with the Persona Dolls
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The Doll represents the diversity in the
children‘s group
Information for the biography of the dolls:
Families of the children, people outside of the
family, books, internet etc.
It‘s important that the doll looks „real“, to
support the childrens identfication with it.
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Anti-Bias-Goal 2:
Enabling experiences with diversity
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Making diversity come alive
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The dolls support meeting diverse family
cultures.
Personal dolls support children to express
their own feelings, to be empathetic with
others and to meet people with respect
who are different from themselves.
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Making diversity come alive
It‘s important to start with things
the children (and the doll) have in
common and then to move on to
making differences an issue.
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Anti-Bias-Goal 3:
Supporting critical thinking about
prejudices and discrimination
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Persona Dolls can support children‘s
understanding about fairness and
unfairness.
The teacher / educator can help the
children to learn more words for feelings
and emotions.
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Anti-Bias-Goal 4:
Encouraging and supporting
children to resist prejudices and
discrimination
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The anti-bias approach combines
respect for diversity and a decisive
stance against discrimination and
prejudices.
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Children are encouraged to actively
challenge, together with others, biases,
discrimination and exclusion that target
themselves and / or others.
The didactic principle in this step is to
address and make public.
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Persona Dolls and their stories
pick up on these goals, by
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Reflecting the diversity of the children and their
families,
Supporting an active encounter with a wide
diversity of „life-stories“ ,
supporting children to reflect on their own and
others experiences and to engage them in reflecting
on the effects of unfair attitudes and behaviour.
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Supports children to be compassionate
and respectful of the feelings of others
and to engage themselves in helping and
standing in for others and themselves,
Prompts children, to reflect on how they
can protect themselves against and
challenge unfair behaviour,
Supports children in developing problem
solving skills.
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Persona Doll Stories
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The Persona Doll represents the children
in the group and the stories represent
experiences the children have made.
Persona Dolls do not only share
„problematic“ stories with the children.
Just like the children they experience
happy, funny, sad and difficult situations.
And of course they tell of experiences the
children might not have had so far, to
help them broaden their horizon.
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Resources for a Persona Doll story
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A situation, that took place in the
children‘s group
Issues, that the children might not talk
about, but that play a role in their
environment
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Using the Persona Doll
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The Persona Doll sits on the
lap of the teacher/educator.
From time to time the teacher
bends down to the doll, to
hear what the doll wants to say
to the children.
The teacher then tells the
children using the third person,
what she has heard, leads the
conversation, invites the children
to tell about themselves and lets
them develop their thoughts.
The doll does not speak.
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Should the children be allowed to
play with the Persona Doll?
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Some teachers allow the children to play
with the doll, others don‘t. This is left to
each one personally.
It‘s important to remind the children, that
the doll represents a person who has to
be treated carefully and with respect.
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How do the children benefit?
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Acknowledging their uniqueness and special needs
Respecting and valuing their group identity
Expanding their knowledge of their own and other
children‘s family culture
Experiences with empathy and solidarity
Protection against discrimination
Decisionmaking and responsibility in the face of unfair
behaviour
Dialogue and negotiation skills
Development of a dialogue culture
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Persona Dolls and language skills
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Persona Dolls animate children and stimulate
communication. As the stories of the dolls are
close to what the children experience
themselves, they easily develop an emotional
access and are engaged in the exchange with
the doll. At the same time children are
challenged on a cognitive and linguistic level:
they reflect about events in the past, imagine
what they would do if they were in the same
situation as the doll and try to find solutions
for it.
They experience: „I have something important
to contribute.“
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Persona Doll Trainings
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Persona Doll Trainings
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Training sessions running over several
months
Introduction into the Anti-BiasApproach
Introduction to working with the
Persona Doll method
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Persona Doll Trainings
The making of the Persona Doll
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Persona Doll Trainings
Practicing the handling and
talking to children
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Persona Doll Trainings
Developing stories
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Persona Doll Trainings
Videotaping the
Persona Doll in
action
Videotapes are the basis for peer consultation in
the training sessions. The teachers analyze
together strengths and weaknesses of the persona
doll session.
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Literatur
Enßlin, Ute/Henkys, Barbara: „Vielfalt ins
Gespräch bringen mit Persona Dolls.“
In: „Kleine Kinder-keine Vorurteile?“
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Brown, Babette: „Combating Discrimination.
Persona Dolls in Action. London: Trentham
Books 2001
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Derman-Sparks, Louise & A.B.C. Task Force:
Anti-Bias-Curriculum. Tools for empowering young
children. Washington: NAEYC 1989.
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Trisha, Whitney: „Kids like us: Using persona
dolls in the classroom. Redleaf press, 1999.
ISBN: 1-884834-65-5
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Literatur
Videos:
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„Citizenship for all“. Respect, rights, responsibilities (70 min)
Celebrating diversity. Inclusion in practice (69 min)
Persona Dolls in Action
Source:
51 Granville Road, London N12 OJH, UK, Tel.: 020 8446 7056
E-Mail: [email protected]
Website:
www.kinderwelten.net
www.persona-doll-training.org
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The End
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