As an early years educator, Laura Venezia, Head of School at Woodland Montessori Academy, understands the importance in recognising emotions. Children often learn about emotions such as happy, sad, surprised, scared, and angry, but what about ‘stress’? Laura’s book, ‘Wait a Minute What’s This Feeling?’, addresses how to identify and manage stress for children. The idea came about when she was doing research for a project about emotions which revealed that many times when children are feeling angry or sad, they may be experiencing something more complex.
In Laura’s story, Shane is very excited about going back to school. When it is time to learn to read, however, he finds it challenging. He is no longer excited to go to school and doesn’t play knowing that reading comes right after. By helping Shane identify this emotion and suggesting strategies, the teacher and his parents start to help him deal with the stress he is feeling.
“The thing I loved most about writing this book was thinking of it as a conversion I might have with children,” said Venezia who has been working in education for several years. Every year, Laura sees more children showing signs of stress as a result of school and the everchanging expectations of them. She wrote this book to help all children identify what they might be feeling, and to assist caregivers, armed with this knowledge, to help them learn to manage the emotion.
Wellbeing is a foundation of the Woodland Pre-Schools' education. We recognise the importance wellbeing plays in a child’s development and acknowledge the integral part parents and caregivers play in supporting this. Understanding the importance of identifying emotions, creating rituals, knowing how the brain develops, recognising potential reasons for your child’s actions or providing opportunities for children to initiate their own experience can all have an impact on their behaviours and wellbeing.
Q&A with Laura Venezia
Q: Is this your first book?
A: Yes! Writing a book was never an idea I had.
Q: What inspired you to write this book?
A: The book was actually an assignment from one of my grad school classes. However, the idea came about when I noticed that a child from my school would cry when his caregiver did not arrive on time. I started researching about children’s emotions and realized what children think is sadness or anger may actually be ‘stress’.
Q: What do you love most about writing stories for children?
A: The thing I loved most about writing this book was thinking of it as a conversation I might have with children.
Q: How long did it take to write this book, and what was the most challenging aspect?
A: From start to finish the process took a little over a year. The most challenging part was getting over my fear of sharing it!
Q: What topic did you cover and why is this topic important to you?
A: This book introduces children to a new emotion--stress. I have been working in education for several years and each year I see more children showing signs of stress in connection to school and the everchanging expectations. I wrote this book to help them identify what they might be feeling. With this knowledge, they can then begin to manage the emotion.
Q: What is your favourite part of the book?
I love the part when the class is making their own connections to times when they might have had this feeling (stress). It shows that one feeling can be caused by different events.
Q: Who is your favourite children’s author and why?
Theodor Seuss Geisel or as we better know him, Dr Seuss. I love the rhythm, rhyme and fun of reading his books as well as the important messages each book carries.
Q: What is your favourite children’s book and why?
My favourite book is Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak. The entire story is founded on one boy’s imagination and the whole world he creates in his bedroom.
Q: Do you have plans for your next book?
I have been thinking about another topic that I find just as important as identifying emotions and that’s the importance of failure. As adults, we need to help children understand that mistakes are powerful and how we learn and grow!
Book Teaser Video