1st Edition

Building Conceptual PlayWorlds for Wellbeing The Lonely Little Cactus Story Book and Accompanying Resource Book

    100 Pages 19 Color Illustrations
    by Speechmark

    Young children face daily challenges that require them to cope with stressful situations. Some of these challenges may seem trivial to adults, but to young children unable to regulate their own emotions, they can be problematic. The Building Conceptual PlayWorlds for Wellbeing set, comprising of a story book and companion guide is for use with children aged between 4 and 8 and is a conversation point for educators and parents to open discussions with young children about managing their emotions and coping with problems.

    In the vibrant and accessible The Lonely Little Cactus storybook, children are introduced to a cactus that feels lonely living in the desert. Through a series of colourful interactions with desert dwellers, the little cactus learns strategies to cope with feelings of loneliness. Both entertaining and educational, the story showcases an array of coping strategies and encourages the reader to try various approaches to managing difficult situations and find strategies that best work for them.

    The accompanying guidebook uses the evidence-driven Conceptual PlayWorlds model of intentional teaching developed by Professor Marilyn Fleer to provide supporting classroom- or home-based activities to help children aged between 4 and 8 solve challenges and learn wellbeing concepts through play. Offering imagery-rich scenarios including 20 unique activities, children have an opportunity to experientially grasp wellbeing concepts that can be otherwise difficult to explain. This resource book guides educators through a range of wellbeing activities including:

    • Identifying feelings
    • Coping (social support, problem solving, and self-regulation)
    • Friendships (relationship building, working together, time with friends, social skills)
    • Positive emotions (happiness, joy, doing something you love, enjoyment, fun)
    • Relaxation strategies
    • Belonging and inclusion (working together, collaboration, joining in play, including others)

    Offering a unique opportunity for children to learn about psychological strategies while being engaged in a beautiful narrative and visually captivating illustrations, this set is the ideal resource for educators, support staff, practitioners and parents looking to help children understand and manage their feelings.


    Companion Guide

    1. PlayWorlds for wellbeing  2. An urgent message from Eagle  3. Little Cactus’ quest in Friendship Land  4. The Little Cactus finds out how to organise a playdate  5. Wise mermaid’s magic mirror  6. Helping Bat be included  7. From feeling unhappy to being a Superstar Snake  8. Anonymous acts of kindness  9. Grand opening of the Little Cactus movie 10. Feeling safe and designing a security system for the Deer Family  11. Message in a bottle  12. Working together for more than just treasure  13. Sneezing and wheezing: staying connected  14. Relaxing in the snow  15. The twinkle party  16. An acorn feast for Deer  17. Helping Eagle fly again  18. Breathing buddies  19. Celebration of strengths  20. A new friend  21. Compliments unlocked


    Kelly-Ann Allen is an Associate Professor, Educational and Developmental Psychologist, and belonging researcher at Monash University. You can find Kelly-Ann on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook @drkellyallen. Resources for wellbeing and belonging can be found at www.drkellyallen.com.

    Marilyn Fleer is an Australian Research Council Laureate Fellow and holds the Foundation Chair in Early Childhood Education and Development at Monash University. She researches in the areas of early childhood science, engineering and technologies with particular attention on digital visual methodology framed through cultural-historical theory. @MarilynFleer is on Twitter and Facebook.

    Lara McKinley is an award-winning content producer and communications manager at Monash University. Lara partners with researchers to translate their work to maximise engagement and impact. You can find Lara online on Twitter and LinkedIn and via her website www.laramckinley.com.

    Madeleine Griffith is a multi-disciplinary artist and teacher with a background in sculpture, animation, miniature making and illustration. She is passionate about applying creative approaches to build connections and space for people to explore their creativity. She teaches at R.M.I.T., is a Co-Creative Director at Satellite Foundation and runs her prop and model-making company. You can find more of her work at madeleinegriffith.com.