Special Needs Teacher Carol Cooper Boosting Children’s Confidence Through a Story and Superhero Bears
Boosting Children’s Confidence through a Story and Superhero Bears
Children of all kinds struggle in learning at one time or another and, in her role as reading specialist, Carol Cooper has seen firsthand the impact positive affirmations can have on the willingness of children to keep trying.
Her experience inspired her to develop unusual tools to foster self esteem in kids: A pair of blissfully soft, bright yellow plush bears named Brian and Brianna, meaning “strength.”
What makes the bears unique? The combination of Brian and Brianna, who are the foundation of an inspiring tale of overcoming challenges that Cooper penned in storybook form, included in each bear’s package, as well as their own special cape and mask, and colorful pendants.
During the decade or so that it took for Cooper to bring her dream of publishing the story and bears to reality – successfully establishing her company and its brand, she attracted attention at the school for special needs children where she works – Windsor Learning Center in Pompton Lakes, N.J. Her achievement positioned her to lead implementation of a new program at the school to teach children as young as nine how to develop their own business.
Brian and Brianna have become symbols of hope for children whose lives are impacted by a range of differences, from ADHD and dyslexia, to more complex diagnosis. Children at Windsor are able to earn their own bear by earning points for achieving personal goals. Parents who’ve seen the positive influence on their children attribute the transformation to magic – which echoes the storyline of the Ready Set Go bears.
The story depicts Brian and Brianna as the main characters who are sad about school and reluctant to attend because they struggle to read. The bears experience a “magical” moment with a special old woman who shares special language that the children adopt to transform their sadness and gain confidence. Brian and Brianna get “Ready” to overcome their fears, “Set” their goals high, and “Go” out and be the best they can be.
The bears can be dressed in a vivid red – for Brian – or pink – for Brianna – superhero mask and cape, showing their super abilities, and a special dog-tag style pendant features the Ready Set Go logo which children remove from the bears and wear.
Tangible and tactile-friendly, the bears are visual reminders to use the Ready Set Go language to reinforce their ability. The story of Brian and Brianna is simple, memorable, and effective.
“When children are self confident, they are more willing to try, and through trying, they can achieve success,” stated Cooper. “Over the years, I’ve worked with children who seemed so lost. Brian and Brianna help kids regain confidence, and they learn resilience – the future becomes brighter.”
In the works is a music video, written, developed and choreographed by the music staff at the school for children with special needs where Cooper teaches, which features singing and dancing students.
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- Special Needs Teacher Carol Cooper Boosting Children’s Confidence Through a Story and Superhero Bears
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This post originally appeared on our May/June 2015 Magazine