(TMAS) is a program of the Military Child Education Coalition that empowers Military Children by using literature and their own stories in a way that fosters skills for resilience, strong peer and parent connections, a sense of pride and accomplishment, and a caring community. Tell Me A Story is geared toward children ages 4-12 and it provides opportunities to open up discussion on difficult topics such as deployment, separation and moving. We want children to have the skills they need to be resilient. Through TMAS, Children (and parents) are able to recognize that they are an active part of a caring community, and not just recipients of this care, and they are also participants in caring for others. TMAS can help give children the tools needed to be resilient and have a positive optimistic outlook.
Each TMAS event focuses on one book, carefully selected by the MCEC for its content, literary value, and illustrations. TMAS books also exhibit 23 character traits of positive, optimistic people; research shows that these traits can be developed and contribute to people becoming more resilient as well as living healthier, happier, and longer lives. All TMAS books touch on two main themes of Positive Psychology: resilience and optimism, while some of the books directly address certain issues, such as deployment. The chosen books are developmentally appropriate to the target age of the audience (4-12 years) and they are respectful of the diversity of families and experiences. The TMAS event begins with the reading of the selected book. Following the reading, participants move into guided discussion groups. This facilitated discussion time is key. It is the reason we do TMAS. This is the time for the parents to see how they can use the stories for discussion. This peer to peer interaction is not only for the children. The adults also have time to interact with their peers.