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The Learning Conference 2003

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Presentation Details


Creating Caring Communities: A Literature and Arts Approach for Children

Nancy A. Chicola.

Caring is a thoughtful, empathetic concern for the world around us. It is an all inclusive term that is reflective of a custodial attitude for the protection of humans as well as a regard for the environment. During this time of political turmoil, violence, and apparent hatred among people, it is essential that educators help children develop habits of thinking and behaving in humane, tolerant, and compassionate ways. Children who care are open to others, respect their rights and ideas and celebrate their unique differences. The Learning to Care Paradigm within a framework of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is used to develop a caring community of learners. Through participation with literature and the arts, children experience personal feelings of caring. Books, both fiction and nonfiction, have always played a role in students’ lives to inform and entertain. These books are examples of quality children’s literature that are apropos to the caring theme. Children can easily identify with the major characters from these books because they share similar qualities to the young reader. A fusion of selected trade books and performing, visual, creative, and musical arts into classroom activities facilitates caring among children in the communities of family, school, neighborhood, nation, and the world.

Participants at this workshop will engage in a variety of expressive activities using literature and the arts that create caring communities. Assessment strategies for evaluating caring dispositions will also be provided.


Nancy A. Chicola  (United States)
Associate Professor in Elementary Education and Reading
Faculty of Applied Sciences and Education
Buffalo State College

Nancy A. Chicola is associate professor in the Department of Elementary Education and Reading at Buffalo State College. She teaches undergraduate courses in teacher preparation and graduate courses in school administration. Her research, primarily in social studies education, has produced two books: Discovering World Geography with Books Kids Love and Creating Caring Communities with Books Kids Love. Other research has been focused in the areas of curriculum and instruction.

  • Caring Communities
  • Literature
  • The Arts
  • Expressive Activities

(60 min Workshop, English)