Grade 1: Building Blocks Red – Feeling Happy and Safe

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BUILDING BLOCKS is a Foundation Phase programme, designed to effectively and creatively integrate SEL into a child’s holistic education. BUILDING BLOCKS assists schools in creating a culture where each learner can thrive as an individual, work productively and happily in a team and contribute to making their school community happy and safe, thereby fostering an environment for productive learning and personal excellence.

BUILDING BLOCKS is designed to assist in teaching every Foundation Phase learner to:

  • develop the skills of emotional self awareness and regulation so that they are ready to learn
  • make values or goal aligned choices
  • learn with a growth mindset
  • identify and solve problems and make decisions using critical and creative thinking
  • work effectively as individuals and with others as members of a team
  • make empathetic connections with classmates
  • organise and manage themselves and their activities responsibly and effectively
  • collect, analyse, organise and critically evaluate information
  • communicate effectively using visual, symbolic and/or language skills in various modes

The BUILDING BLOCKS programme assists in developing the following general values, skills, and knowledge through experiential, fun learning:

  • self-esteem, self-worth, self-confidence and self-discipline
  • positive values and attitudes
  • developing character (resilience, perseverance, determination, courage)
  • relationships with others
  • respect and diversity (respecting the rights of others)
  • tolerance for cultural and religious diversity
  • knowledge and respect for their bodies and those of others
  • making good, values or goal directed choices
  • exploring and developing creative ideas based on personal experiences
  • working effectively as individuals and with others as members of a team
  • perceptual skills – using the senses, emotions and observations

The Building Blocks Foundation Phase curriculum includes a unique and developmentally appropriate programme for Grade’s 1, 2 and 3.


BUILDING BLOCKS (Red) is focused on the developmental theme: Feeling happy and safe.

The four building blocks explored in this programme that help a child develop the skills needed to navigate their daily challengers and revert to feel happy, safe and ready to learn are:

  1. Feelings: It’s okay to feel mad or sad or happy as can be because all my feelings are a part of me.
  2. Sharing: Everything begins to shine when I decide to share what’s mine.
  3. Being Kind: When I am kind to others we become sisters and brothers.
  4. My Circle of Love and Support: I feel strong, brave and safe as can be because there is always a circle of love around me.

Each building block is explored through:

  • A story in audio and eBook formats
  • The story motto
  • Specific learning opportunities
  • 8-10 lessons with various activities and discussions

The total teaching time of each building block is 4 to 5 hours.


The BUILDING BLOCKS (Red) Educator’s Manual is divided into four chapters that are referred to as building blocks. Each building block is themed according to a specific value or skill that a child needs to learn and integrate in order to achieve the bigger developmental challenge of feeling happy and safe. A different building block can be allocated to each term
of the school year. While it is recommended that you keep to this order, changes can be made if a particular building block fits in well with a topic you have planned for a different term or if you feel that there is a particular need amongst the learners to cover a specific theme or topic. If you teach in a three-term school, teach a building block either side of half term during
the longest term of the year.

Each building block starts by reading the story, which introduces the building block and its motto for that term. The building block is then broken down into specific learning opportunities, that are explored through the various activities, games and discussions. It is recommended that at least one building block lesson is taught per week. This creates continuity and helps integrate social-emotional learning into the culture of the school. It is also recommended that a specific family chat or game (as indicated in the lesson outlines) is briefed per week so that the same continuity is created at home.

The story is absolutely key to the teaching of the building block and sets the stage for all the activities, games and discussions that follow. The most important thing is to have fun and use the story as a platform for some wonderful discussions and learning. Each story is included in this Educator’s Manual but is also available as four separate storybooks that make up the
BUILDING BLOCKS (Red) Storybook series: Feeling happy and safe.

Learning opportunities
Each building block is broken down into specific learning opportunities and each lesson relates back to one or more of the learning opportunities. The learning opportunities can be found at the start of each building block. It will be most beneficial, for you as the teacher, to spend time reading through the learning opportunities before teaching the lessons, to ensure that you have a clear understanding of the central themes so that you can maximize the children’s opportunity to learn.

Useful tips
At the start of each building block is a list of ‘Useful Tips’ specifically designed to assist you in creating an environment conducive to helping the learners in your class understand and integrate each building block.

There are 6-9 lessons with various activities, games and discussions per building block. A building block overview is included at the start of each building block as well as a detailed lesson outline for each individual lesson with information that will assist the educator with the planning and implementation of the lesson. The lessons follow a sequential order, as the story unfolds so that the learners can explore the learning opportunities in the most logical order.  It would be most effective to stick to the order of the lessons, although, if needed, you can extend the time taken to teach all the lessons beyond one week.
The length and type of activities in each lesson varies from day to day. You will need to look at the type of activity to plan when best to teach it.
The length of each lesson is indicated in the building block overview, as well as in the lesson outline. These are only a guideline and may vary according to the length of discussion, the number of learners in your class and when in the term you teach the building block

Classroom accessories, activities and teaching resources
All classroom accessories and teaching resources are available to download and print off the COOL TO BE ME website

Note to the educator
All information required to teach the programme has been organised into:
• Lesson outline (solid text box)
• Note to the Educator (dotted text box)
• Dialogue prompts
• Anticipated answers from the participants

Curriculum links
At the start of each building block, there are curriculum links specific for that building block.

Home activities
During the implementation of a building block, there will be family activities for the learners to complete with their parents or caregiver at home. These activities are divided up into family chats and family games and can be found at the back of each storybook. You will find a guideline as to when to give them as homework, in both the building block overview and in each specific lesson outline. In order to complete the home activities each learner and their family will have to have access to the E-Book of BUILDING BLOCKS (Red): Feeling happy and safe.

The heart of BUILDING BLOCKS is focused on using the imagination to create a magical world through which a child can develop critical SEL skills. The more you enjoy teaching this programme and understanding the importance of what you are teaching, the more captivated and receptive your learners will be.
Thank you for teaching BUILDING BLOCKS (RED) Feeling happy and safe. We hope that through embracing what Bru’Me, Thandi Tortoise, Musa Monkey and Sammy Squirrel can teach the learners, your classroom will become a happy and safe place


Builing Block Red 1: Feelings


Building Block Red 2: Sharing


Building Block Red 3: Being Kind


Building Block Red 4: My Circle of Love and Support


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