Persona presentation

					Persona dolls can be a valuable resource when working
with young children.
Available in a range of skin tones to represent various
ethnicities, they can be used for storytelling in small
groups or whole class circle time to help identify and
confront racial issues and to develop empathy and
understanding of issues faced by children who are
considered different in any way by their peers.

The doll can become a regular visitor to the group and
used to help tackle real issues faced by children in the
group in a “third party” non-threatening way.
When you start working with a Persona doll and a
group of children, it’s important to create a
personality that’s believable and to give him/her a
background story, preferably with visual cues.

The doll will become a member of the group, and
because he/she is new to the children, introducing
the doll along with a photo album helps the children
to engage.
Using the Persona doll to help children to develop
empathy, we can introduce questions and ideas, early in
the story, that stimulate discussion and thought and can
help develop problem solving skills.

“How might Shada feel?”

                               “How can we help Shada?”

“What can Shada do?”
When there was a war in
Shada’s country, her family ran
away from Iraq and came to
England, where they would be

                     They had to leave some of
                        their family behind.
                  How do you think Shada felt?
In Iraq, Shada lived in
    a small house in
    a village in the

                          In Huddersfield she
                          lives in a terraced
                          Life is very different
  What sort of things do you think might
  be different for Shada in England?
                  Summers                 The women in
   In Iraq,       are very
Shada’s family                              Shada’s
                 hot in Iraq              family always
 and friends
spoke Kurdish                             wear a hijab
                               are very
  Their                          cold
 food was

     If you had to go and live in a different
     country what might be different?
Children should be encouraged to ask the doll questions.
It’s important that the adult speaking for the doll has
prepared for this.

For example, you should have some knowledge of the doll’s
country of origin, language spoken, some cultural
information etc. It’s worth spending some time
researching. Questions can be searching!

It’s useful to have a basic biography for the doll.
Continuity is vital if the doll is to be credible and children
will remember!
                            Shada’s Biography

Origin:                   Iraq
                          (In the village of Herow in Kurdistan, on
                          the Iranian border)*
Birthday:                 3rd May 2002
Family:                   lives with Mother, Father, one brother,
                          Kalan, aged 10
Languages spoken:         Kurdish, Arabic
Religion:                 Muslim
Home now:                 terraced house, main road Thornton Lodge
Likes:                    pink, dolls, pizza, sunny days
Dislikes:                 people who are mean, dogs, bananas

*Found in an article about a journey to Kurdistan with useful details about
village life
After each session, any information that has been given
about the doll should be recorded in a diary or journal,
along with comments about discussions that ensued.

It’s possible that the doll might visit different
classes/groups. Anyone working with the doll can refer
to the journal and any issues raised can be revisited
later to help reinforce lessons learned.
The doll’s story can help to explore and confront
prejudices and discrimination and any misinformation
that children may have picked up.

In sessions where the doll needs the children’s advice
and support, children learn a valuable lesson in standing
up for themselves and others
                               Shada’s Diary
Monday 8.9.08
Shada was excited and nervous because today she was coming to meet the
group. They asked lots of questions. Shada told them that she hoped to find
some friends because since she started school nobody had played with her .

Everybody in the group said that they would be kind to her    

Monday 15.9.08
Today Shada told the group that some boys had laughed at her because she
didn’t understand what the teacher told her to do.   

The group talked about how hard it must be when you can’t understand
what people are saying. They thought Shada should try to remember how
to say “I don’t understand” so the teacher would help her.
They thought the boys were very mean. Everybody in the group said that
they wouldn’t laugh at someone like that because they knew it would make
her sad 
  The doll should share joys and triumphs as well as
   Today is              Her Mummy and
    Shada’s            Daddy bought her a
  birthday             new doll and some
                            trainers          Using realia
                                                 can help
   She’s happy                                  make the
  because she’s                               session more
 having pizza for                              interesting
tea and that’s her
  favourite food

                                             What does
                      Let’s tell Shada      your family do
                      about birthdays          on your
                        in our school         birthday?
          Taken from the Persona Doll Training website:
 Citizenship For All: … use a range of learning approaches with
                children in Key Stage 1 and 2 to:

help them unlearn any prejudiced and discriminatory attitudes and
actions they may have absorbed and to develop the skills they need to
challenge racism and other social inequalities
build their sense of identity and feelings of belonging
build relationships based on respect for themselves and for others
encourage them to be enthusiastic, empathetic, thoughtful and
critical learners willing to question their own assumptions and beliefs .
learn about their own rights and responsibilities and the rights of
address controversial issues, e.g. racism in circle time, in citizenship
education and in other areas of the curriculum
practice democracy and take meaningful action to bring about change.
There are various companies selling dolls and puppets
that can be used in this way.
Our dolls were purchased from Persona Doll Training,
who also offer training sessions and a range of other
resources to support the use of the dolls.
Their website is

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