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Examining Self Esteem in the Young

Book 1

Examining Self Esteem in the Young by Lou Thompson
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This blackline master book aims at helping teachers and carers understand how the children in their care think and function. It does this by inviting users to firstly gain insight into their own understandings and attitudes, and secondly by working with the children through a series of activities designed to highlight aspects of children’s self esteem – how they view themselves, and how they would like to see themselves. In attempting to help teachers and carers gain this vital information the book has been organized as follows:


This is the basis upon which the book is written.

* It outlines a framework for considering children’s self esteem needs.

* It indicates the key processes in the development of a healthy self esteem.

* It explains the ‘self esteem wall’ - the behaviors children exhibit when they feel that they
aren’t able to meet the expectations that are part of their ideal image.

(NOTE: Activities designed to help children ‘climb the self-esteem wall’ are contained in Book
2 of the Self Esteem Series.)


a) How can you, as a teacher or carer, help a child develop a healthy self esteem?

b) A Checklist For Parents - a time for reflection.


These are displayed as ‘Levels’ which are determined by the possible reading/comprehension abilities of the children.

i.e. Level 1 - Introductory Activities - 6 to 8 year olds

Level 2 - Intermediate Activities - 9 to 10 year olds

Level 3 - Advanced Activities - 11 to 12 year olds It is important to note that while the language of the activities is graded to suit the age groups as above, there is absolutely no reason why activities shown as suitable for one age group could not be done by children in other age groups. Accordingly age references have been avoided on the photocopiable activity pages to allow them to be used with any primary aged child. Prior to the commencement of the photocopiable activities section there is a set of explanatory comments which give some background to the relevant activities that follow.

Ready-Ed Publications; March 2001
48 pages; ISBN 9781863971034
Read online, or download in secure PDF format
Title: Examining Self Esteem in the Young
Author: Lou Thompson; Tim Lowson; Melinda Parker

What is a Healthy Self Esteem?

o A child has a healthy self esteem when he/she has a feeling or general sense of moving in
the right direction towards goals, expectations, and aspirations that are part of their ideal
self image. In this situation children tend to:

* Feel secure and confident.

* Be appropriately motivated.

* Have a valued sense of worth.

* Have an appropriate perception of the consequences of their own behavior.

o A child with healthy self esteem has access to accurate, positive, ongoing information
about their self image. They are prepared to add to, modify, and review their self image.

o A child with healthy self esteem will have an ideal image that not only is comprised of
dreams and aspirations but a significant number of realistic, attainable goals and

o A child with healthy self esteem will continually be testing self, experimenting, and taking
appropriate risks to enrich both their self image and their ideal image.

The Key processes Involved

Although the development of self esteem is a complex process two key processes have been identified.

o 1. Self Discovery

Children will build their self image and ideal image by having the opportunities to discover as much about their identities as possible. This requires them to have the opportunity to:

* Undertake new and novel learning experiences.

* Undertake challenge.

* Be involved in problem solving situations.

* Be involved in activities where ‘it’s okay to make mistakes and get things wrong.

* Be involved in situations where they can push themselves to their performance

o 2. Feedback from Significant Others

All children constantly examine their self image and ideal image via the feedback they receive from significant others in their lives.

Studies have indicated that for most children the following people represent the significant others they need access to:

* Mom, dad, and family members. (Brothers, sisters, grandmother, grandad etc.)

* Teachers.

* The peer group.

The order of choice of significant other will fluctuate according to what aspect of ‘self’ is being reviewed. Most importantly, children need to feel confident that all sources of feedback are accessible if they need them.