An Emotional Menagerie by The School of Life

Values: All sorts!

This gorgeous poetry book can be used across the school in PSHE, libraries, assemblies, circle times, and across the curriculum. It is an anthology of poems from A-Z, each letter focusing on an emotion.

The book is designed so as each letter, and emotion, corresponds to an animal; this is a great way of enabling children to really visualise emotions and how they may affect our thoughts and behaviours. For example, loneliness is likened to a blue whale and the poem begins like this:

L is for Loneliness

If Loneliness was an animal,

It would glide throughout the deep,

No ears to hear its lonely song,

No company to keep.

It starts to moan when we're alone,

And sometimes when we're not.

In groups when we're not understood

And feel like afterthoughts.

I also really like the way complex or unfamiliar words are dotted, as we may do in class, to teach new vocabulary and explore the magic of carefully-chosen words.

This blog is unusual in that it doesn't talk through links to particular Values, but more that it enriches your Values curriculum and ethos by linking Values to emotions. You could easy use the poems to discuss respect, compassion, empathy, pride, acceptance, responsibility and so many more Values. You could choose to read one a day for a couple of weeks, or you could focus on particular poems. I know @Teacherglitter has kindly shared mindfulness planning on her TES account. She uses the poem 'Embarrassment' from this book as part of one term's planning around emotional exploration.

How interesting to talk to children about which animals they associate with which emotions and why! I think children could be so creative in exploring this concept right from EYFS up to Year 6. It could even be part of a whole school project on emotional literacy and Values.

I would highly recommend grabbing a copy of this poetry book - I can see myself using it for many years. It would make a great display too, with the children's interpretations of poems and artwork of course! It's a great way of validating all of our emotions and ensuring children know it is normal to experience different feelings.

You can also get hold of this book as an ebook from The School of Life.