Dr. Martin Seligman, author of The Optimistic Child and the father of Positive Psychology reminds us that it’s not the positive or negative events in a child’s life that determine their happiness or unhappiness, but rather how they explain these events to themselves. Seligman describes this as an “explanatory style”.
The child who sees negative events as temporary setbacks and isolated to particular circumstances has an optimistic explanatory style. He believes that negative events can be overcome by his effort and ability. On the other hand, the child who sees negative events as catastrophes, has a pessimistic explanatory style.
Seligman also describes the three “Ps” of Optimism: 1) Pervasive — Causes of positive events are global not specific; 2) Permanent — Causes of positive events are stable; 3) Personal — Causes of positive events are internal. These are the messages we want children to internalize. Parents and teachers can help build hope and optimism in young children by modeling self talk out loud in response to positive and negative events.
Research has demonstrated that optimism is related to success in school and sports; healthy relationships and physical well-being. Although hope and optimism are such powerful attitudes, teachers and parents are seldom intentional in developing this explanatory style in young children. These songs are provided as tools that enable teachers and parents to do just that.
The songs on New Day are based on research on optimism within the relatively new
field of Positive Psychology
This happy little echo song introduces a discussion of the concept of hope. Children with hope see a future worth looking forward to. The key message in this song is that hope is inside and hope can take us wherever we want. Hope is an abstract idea, and this song has children first visualizing a boat and a train called hope. Then the last verse delivers the important message that hope is inside of me. Hopefulness is a sense of a compelling future full of good things.