Short stories and fables have inspiring messages that help young learners understand important concepts, such as cooperation. Fables often use animals, nature and human struggles to create tension and develop morals to the stories. Fables and short stories don't usually include the word "cooperation" in the text, but children get the message by seeing how characters react to their difficulties.
"The North Wind and the Sun"
Aesop's fable "The North Wind and the Sun" teaches children the importance of using kindness, friendliness and respect to get others to respond positively to their goals and suggestions. The wind and the sun compete to see who can persuade a man to take off his coat. The wind blows hard, but the man only wraps his coat tighter. The sun uses warmth to slowly coax the man to remove his coat because he gets too hot. The fable teaches children how to cooperate and lead, without being rude, demanding or domineering.
"The One-Turnip Garden"
"The One-Turnip Garden" is a Russian short story that teaches the value of working together to accomplish tasks. A farmer plants turnip seeds but is unable to pull a giant turnip from the ground at harvest time. The roots are deep and the turnip is heavy. It's not until the farmer, his wife, his children, neighbors and strangers join together, pulling one another by the waist, that the farmer can successfully yank the turnip from the ground. The story teaches the importance of unity, cooperation and sacrifice.
"The Ram and the Pig Who Set Up House"
"The Ram and the Pig Who Set Up House" originated in Norway and is about the importance of teamwork. A ram leaves his farm after realizing that he's being fattened up for the farmer to eat. Pig joins him on an adventure to build a house and find a new place to live. On the journey, other animals join the team and work together to build the house. A wolf attempts to break into the house to steal and eat some of the animals, but the animals works together to fight off the wolf. The story teaches children the importance of using individual skills to help the team accomplish important goals. Sometimes, working together is critical to survival.
"The Bundle of Sticks"
"The Bundle of Sticks" by Aesop teaches children that working together is a strong and powerful way to defeat obstacles. There's strength in numbers. A father asks his two boys to try to break a bundle of sticks, but the bundle is durable, strong and unbreakable. Then, the dad gives each boy individual sticks to break, which they do quite easily. The fable teaches that the unified bundle of sticks is much more difficult to damage, break and destroy than a single stick by itself.
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