Girl Dresses Up as Different Historical Figures Every Day For School


Stella as (L) Billie Holiday and (R) Princess Grace on her wedding day

Many children like to dress up for school, but third grader Stella Erhart, age 8, takes dressing up to a whole 'nother level:

She opens her closet. She opens her book, “100 Most Important Women of the 20th Century.” And she opens her mind.

Voilà, she is Billie Holiday, in a black dress with a red tissue-paper flower tucked into her strawberry-blond hair.

Behold, she is Grace Kelly in pink satin lace on her wedding day.

Poof, she is Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, wearing a hat her aunt got her in Vietnam.

The Dundee Elementary School third-grader comes to school dressed as a different historical figure or character — Every. Single. Day. And she's done that since the second day of second grade, when this all started.

Erin Grace of Omaha World-Herald has the story: Link - via Metafilter


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Because it's a knee-jerk negativity. It's doubly bad when expressed toward a child and triply bad when such a reaction could squish a fledgling enthusiasm.

I'm sure someone with better knowledge can comment on this, but I think that age-appropriate play, including dress-up play, is an integral part of children's development. It doesn't have to have a point (for example, she doesn't have to grow up to be a fashion designer), except to encourage their mental and physical development. Like author Alfie Kohn once wrote, the point of play is that it has no point.

I know we disagree about many things, Ted, but I want you to know that I appreciate differing points of views on the blog and thank you for expressing them civilly. You should only know how many comment threads devolved quickly into name callings and such.
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You don't like my expression of what my first impression was. That's fine with me. It is a response to the glowing expressions of affirmation for what is essentially an 8-yr-old girl dressing up. She may not be pretending she's Lady Gaga, but does it amount to anything different than any other dressup play?
I just wonder how long until it becomes an unhealthy obsession.
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Well, we're talking about an eight-year-old girl here, Ted. So she dresses up and poses in photographs. That may not a big enough step for learning about influential women of the 20th century for adults, but it's a solid and notable first step for her age group.

What she has done is an example of a positive self-expression in children, and it should be encouraged, not beaten down with negativity.
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Good question, Alex. I think it was the pose on the left that did it for me. Cool thing to do at home. Taking it to school every single day kinda takes it to another self-absorbed look-at-me level. Putting it on the Internet as if it's something notable? Maybe a little overkill.
And is she really learning about the influential women of the 20th century simply by copying their outfits? It sounds noble and empowering, but it amounts to little more than a fashion show.
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Why is that your first thought? Why the instant suspicion and negativity? Like I mentioned in my reply to David Govett above, here we have a child who shows initiative, creativity and perseverance. Shouldn't that be celebrated instead of beaten down?
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