Theo the Bear began as a way to welcome new children into the program. I introduced him as a friendly companion they could cuddle and rely on throughout the day. If they wished to take Theo home, they were welcome to do so, but they had to bring him back the next day for more fun. Theo helped children feel more comfortable and secure in the classroom, making the transition smoother.
After a while, we stopped using Theo because there were no new children enrolling. However, he remained a beloved member of the classroom and became the sharing bear. As a sharing bear, he is available for everyone to take home. I explain to the children how much Theo loves going on adventures and visiting their homes. To enhance his travels, I added some accessories to Theo’s small bag, such as clothes, a brush, and a book. During their birthday week, each child takes Theo home for a week-long trip. Families are then asked to help children record their adventures in the Theo book by adding pictures or drawings. At the end of the week, they share their adventures with the class.
Written by Stephanie Mckinstry family child care professional and owner of Caterpillar Clubhouse Nature Preschool in Kokomo, Indiana