Imagine starting each class by saying “Are all my good little Bulldogs ready to have a good BullDog day?” A mascot gives young students a sense of belonging and community. By being a Bulldog, Panther, Falcon, or whatever, they are part of a flock, herd – a community; a group which demonstrates consistent behavior. As the head of that group, you can outline the desired behavior in terms of positive character traits. “Bulldogs are honest, helpful, polite, etc.”
Walking into class for the first time can be exciting, but it can also be intimidating and even scary for some kids. They don’t know what to expect. This is all new territory to them. By introducing the new environment by saying “Congratulations! You are now a Bulldog, and that is very special for many reasons. Let me tell you about what being a Bulldog means…” the teacher is being inclusive – bringing the child into the group. And the child has their first victory under their belt – they became part of a very special group they can be proud of. Being part of the group also comes with rules and expectations.
At the end of their first day of school, the child’s head may be spinning with all the new experiences, but one thing they will know for sure – they are now a Bulldog! They will be proud of it; and they will aspire to be a good little Bulldog, and the teacher will guide them in their quest to be a good little Bulldog.
A mascot can serve as a platform for teaching a broad array of complex topics. For example, say “Bulldog,” and it brings an image to mind. The word “honesty” is not a picture word, so it is harder to teach. Saying that good little Bulldogs are honest, and discussing what that means in terms of behavior, gives the children a visual starting point for grasping more complex concepts. Having them understand that they ARE Bulldogs, and Bulldogs are honest, means that they will aspire to be honest, because it is part of the nature of the community they associate themselves with.
In many respects, your mascot is like glue that makes the lesson stick to the student more effectively. It makes lessons easier to digest, and it attaches the learning to something they strongly associate with, and take pride in being part of.