Nurturing Kids’ Hearts and Souls

The way you can measure a society’s soul is by the way that it treats its children.
Nelson Mandela

Issue No. 33 – 26th February 2007

Welcome to Kidz Newz especially to all new subscribers, including staff at Frankland Primary School in WA where I had the best fun conducting an in-service in music and movement, dance and drama. 

Kidz Newz is a regular newsletter with information and teaching tips for anyone involved with young children.  You are receiving this because you have attended one of my workshops, purchased a book, or you have requested to be on the mailing list.  Thank you.  Please forward this to anyone you feel it may be of interest to.

Feedback is welcome.

My PD/Conference Updates

ECCPA (Early Childhood Conference of Performing Arts) Genazzano FCJ College, Cotham Road, Kew, Melbourne 16th and 17th June 2007.  My presentation will be on multicultural music and movement.

ASME (Australian Society for Music Education) 40th Anniversary Conference. Perth (Western Australia) Convention Centre 6-10 July 2007.  I will be presenting two workshop sessions –
Movement and Dance in the Early Childhood Classroom
Multicultural Music and Movement.

CAYPAKS (Children And Young People Are Key Stakeholders) Conference Perth Western Australia 23-25 July 2007.  I will be conducting a Skills and Activity Based Workshop titled “Using Music and Movement to Empower Children at Risk”.

Nurturing Kids’ Hearts and Soul

You may have noticed on my website ( that I sell other products than my own books if I feel they relate well to my ideals. One of the latest additions is a beautiful book about nurturing the total child by Maggie Dent. The following passage is an extract from the book which I hope you will enjoy. I have had similar experiences and I’m sure, as teachers, you have too. If you come across a colleague or a parent with the attitude that fantasy is not important, challenge them. Remind them that a hugely important part of a child’s development is the fantasy phase which occurs around age 4-8 years. To deprive a child of this phase is too tragic to contemplate.

‘It was 2001 and a beautiful little five-year-old girl was brought to see me. She was very sad. Her mother told me how the little girl did not play with the other children at pre-school. The doctor wanted to put her on antidepressant medication but her parents were hoping I might be able to help so that they could avoid medication. This little one, who I will call Cindy, began to draw me an intensely black picture, even though I had given her a collection of brightly coloured textas with which to draw. As she drew she asked, ‘Maggie, how can you die if you want to?’ I asked Cindy what she meant. She responded that sometimes when she woke up in the mornings she closed her eyes and tried to die. Her eyes were sad; there was no sparkle or light in them. My heart tugged deeply within me. I explored in my mind where this deep despair could be coming from – both her parents were concerned and loving. What had gone so wrong?  

Cindy’s parents were professional people. They had decided to give Cindy the ‘best opportunity to be successful in life’ by promoting the development of her intelligence. Fantasy and the imaginary world were considered to be a distraction to her development. So Cindy had grown up with no tooth fairies, no Father Christmas, no Grimm Brothers fairy tales and certainly no opportunities for imaginary play or dress ups. Unknowingly, these caring parents had starved Cindy’s emerging imagination and sucked the life out of her young spirit. They were not aware of the protective role the imagination can play in a young child’s life.

Recognising this, we were able to immediately bring wonder and creativity back into Cindy’s life. Fortunately, Cindy had a Montessori-trained pre-school teacher who was willing to support us and Cindy wore fairy wings every day for a month. When I saw her next her eyes were shining, she had a beautiful smile and was accompanied by two very happy parents. Cindy is now full of life and energy with her mind, body, and heart and soul all well.

Interestingly, only the week after I first saw Cindy I met another pre-schooler who had a similar story. She too responded quickly to opportunities to play, experience imaginary games and stories and have fun time with her parents. These two little girls came into my office and helped me explore the positive influences that play and imagination have in young people’s lives. I am deeply grateful to them for showing me this and the impact a deficit has on healthy mental and physical development. I liken these children to the canaries that were kept in the bottom of the mines in days gone by as a way of alerting the miners to the presence of toxic gases. The girls alerted me to a modern danger for children, and to our future adults, one that can be averted with commonsense rather than medication.’

– from Nurturing Kids’ Hearts and Souls – Building Emotional, Social and Spiritual Competency    by Maggie Dent.

For details of purchase of this book or any of Maggie’s other products, please go to my website and click on Products.

Quotes of the Week

Imagination is more important than knowledge.  Albert Einstein

‘Start using your imagination and see things as they can be.  Your success begins in your mind.’  Source unknown


‘There is no use trying,’ said Alice; ‘one can’t believe impossible things.’

‘I dare say you haven’t had much practice,’ said the Queen. ‘When I was your age, I always did it for half an hour a day.  Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.’

Lewis Carroll


Love your newsletters especially the article on the indigo child.  Lily

About The Author

Marlene Rattigan B.A., Dip. Ed. (ECS), CELTA

Marlene Rattigan is an Early Childhood teacher, a teacher of English as a Second Language, and from 1987-2000 was a nationally accredited fitness leader. Her background is in music education. A keen interest in motor development in children led to the creation of Kidz-Fiz-Biz which she taught successfully for 13 years. Marlene also conducts workshops for children, teachers and parents at schools, in the community and at festivals. She has produced teaching manuals complete with audio CDs which are an extension of her ‘Kidz-Fiz-Biz’ program.

57 Henry Lawson Walk, East Perth WA 6004
T: +61 8 9325 1204 M: 0410 64 2781 E:

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Until next time – continue being a legend in your classroom.

Marlene Rattigan, Editor
Kidz Newz

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