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The Just Me Project

For Educators

Research has shown definitively that children without social and emotional literacy will be limited in what they can do in the academic setting. Emotional literacy is the foundation upon which we build other important academic skills. The curriculum pressures leave a teacher little room to help children develop this social and emotional foundation.

The inspiring story of a feral cat that lost his leg is an extraordinary and effective tool to help children learn tolerance, resiliency, moral courage, and self-esteem. Through this story readers become aware of the impact of emotions and learn how important it is to choose their responses to challenging experiences. The innocent voice of the cat helps frame the questions and translate the answers around issues of healing, tolerance, and compassion. It works because children anthropomorphize the animals as if they were them. Pets are not threatening, but comforting to children.

This project can help teachers become skilled at a simpler language of health, social and emotional responsibility, and storytelling. It can help teachers reframe their knowledge into the words of trust, courage, and resilience.

The workbooks and teaching tools ground the student in the realities that hard things do happen but we can choose our responses to these challenges. The lessons taught by Henry the cat and Dolly the dog are easily integrated into the various existing required components of school curricula so that no teacher need feel these are “extras.” By addressing directly the issues of social and emotional learning, the Just Me Project can help schools better serve their students, families, and teachers, and show the way toward more meaningful learning.

White paper: The Just Me Project in Education