FSU Student and Center Create Children’s Book to Enhance Social-Emotional Learning

Children's Day at the Florida Capitol at the FSU CFC Center Book display.

Online MSW student Lara Klopp began working with the Center for the Study and Promotion for Communities, Families and Children at the FSU College of Social Work in 2021 to complete her social work field internship. One of her key assignments included working with pre-Kindergarten (pre-K) students in Brevard County, Florida, utilizing the center’s Rebound and Recovery program, a socio-emotional learning program piloted with pre-K through third-grade children.

Rebound and Recovery use a variety of exercises and teaching tools to instruct children in recognizing how their thoughts, actions and emotions are connected. “With this knowledge, when children become upset, they can recognize the thoughts behind the emotions and consciously take action to calm their own emotions,” Klopp explained. “It also teaches children how to recognize when an emotion is present but not a problem versus when an emotion becomes too big to handle.”

Lara spent quite a bit of time reading to the children she worked with and was inspired to write a poem about sharing the message of Rebound and Recovery with children. Now a graduate assistant with the College of Social Work and center, she shared the poem with Tai Cole and Savannah Smith-Collier, program managers with the center, and they all agreed it would make a great concept for the book.

As an artist and art educator, Lara created all of the book’s universal characters to represent how emotions are experienced, along with characters personifying emotions. Drawn by hand, scanned and digitally brushed up, her characters and the book strive to connect with children in a way that helps them better understand their emotions.

“The book lets kids know that everyone feels emotions that get too big sometimes and that everyone can sometimes use calming tools,” expressed Lara. “It also shows some calming tools in action, which can hopefully help children remember the tools when they are needed.”

Tools like the book titled “The Tools Upon My Shelf” are helpful for young learners with a variety of different learning styles to process information. The text visually represents not only calming techniques utilized by the Rebound and Recovery program but some of the essential concepts of the program that include:

  • Feelings are not wrong but can become overwhelming.
  • We all experience overwhelming feelings sometimes.
  • We can use different calming skills and techniques to calm ourselves when we need to.

The center premiered the book at Children’s Day at the Florida Capitol on Tuesday, February 1st. The annual event celebrates and honors Florida’s commitment to children and advocates during the Florida Legislative Session. Lara and the center participated as a part of the Storybook Village in the Capitol plaza to share the book’s message and other resources affiliated with the Rebound and Recovery program, including the “Hot Cocoa Breathing” technique finger labyrinths and breathing boards. The print release of the book is also anticipated in the near future.

The Rebound and Recovery program efforts in Brevard County, Florida, are sustained by the generous support of Guy and Dolores Spearman. The Spearmans are long-time supporters of the College of Social Work and Florida State University.

To learn more about Rebound and Recovery, contact csw-cfc@fsu.edu.

To be notified when the book is available for purchase, contact Lara Klopp at lklopp@fsu.edu.

 Children's Day at the Capitol

Friday, February 4, 2022 - 12:30 PM
Last updated: Fri, 08/12/2022 - 04:11 PM