Scenario #1
Working with stories 1: The Lonely Duckling

Working with stories 1: The Lonely Duckling

Aims / objectives

The aim is to develop a story-based approach for children of a younger age as a basis for talking about discrimination, justice, courage, identity, etc. without using these technical terms. In this way, children can be encouraged to stand up against prejudice or discrimination when they or others are laughed at, ridiculed or bullied. The questions, which can be expanded, also show the importance of solidarity and justice and how to support them.

Description of the method

The facilitator tells the following story: Once upon a time, a long, long time ago, there was a farm with many animals: cows, pigs, chickens, cats, mice, dogs, geese and ducks. But one of the ducks had a very hard time because the other animals did not like it. Some of them thought it wasn't pretty enough to play with them, others thought it was not big enough, others thought it was too clumsy, and the older ones thought it was too young to spend the day with them. And so it came to pass that no other animal wanted to have anything to do with it. It was mocked and laughed at and felt very, very, very lonely. Instead of sleeping, it cried at night, until it decided to simply run away. While all the other animals on the farm were still asleep, the little duckling set off. But the duckling soon found out that it was lonely alone in the deep forest and that there were many dangers waiting for it.

After having told the story, the facilitator asks impulse questions: - What does the duckling need on its journey? - Who will make sure it gets it? - Does it have a right to it? - What would the duckling have needed at home? - Who could have made sure it got that? - Does it have a right to it? - Is it fair how the others treated the duckling? - What would you do or say if you see someone like the duckling or the other animals?

The story, an adaptation of Hans Christian Anderson’s tale "The Ugly Duckling", can of course be accompanied by images, comics, pictures, videos or other visualisation material. It can also be played out in its different roles by the children themselves.

Usability in social work

As this method is intended for smaller children, it would be well applicable in the context of school social work in primary schools or kindergartens. In this case, in order to avoid a frightening ending, the children may be motivated to find a positive solution together with the “Lonely Duckling”.


Name of the method

The Lonely Duckling

Target group

Children from 4 to 10


30 minutes

Spatial requirements

Room without special equipment (if videos, video screen and laptop)


(Self-)reflection, tolerance, values


Children should be strengthened in their own identity and in their social competences, solidarity and fairness.

Method description

Facilitator tells the story of the lonely duckling, and children are asked several questions about fairness, social interaction, etc.

Social work context

Best for social work in school and kindergarten


Read the story, prepare questions, eventually further material (pictures, videos, etc.)


No special risks to expect

concept / application

Presented by Reinhard Leonhardsberger of the association SOS Menschenrechte (SOS Human Rights)


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