“Look at my box!”
A young girl in BuildaBridge’s Refugee Project enthusiastically placed her newly painted inside-out box directly in front of me on the table from where I was observing the class. The project of the month was about recycling and repurposing. The children, with the help of the teachers, had carefully taken discarded boxes, turned them inside out, glued them back into a box shape, and and were intently painting something they imagined.
“Oh, that is very interesting!” I encouraged. “I looks just like a turtle.”
She smiled and nodded with pride.
“Does your turtle have a name?” I asked.
“This is Talkie the Turtle.” She picked it up and held it toward my face.
“And what does the turtle do?” I asked.
“He talks.” She answered.
“And what does he say?”
“Talkie stuff!” She replied and quickly carried Talkie the Turtle back to the group to continue her painting.
by Natalie Hoffman (see footnote)
A major finding of [my] research was that for [some] children the turtle emerged as a symbol that adequately embodied many of the qualities of their experiences of insecure attachment and placement into foster care. As a symbol, turtles have several note-worthy connotations that are relevant to understanding the experiences of these children.