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The Flock of Doves – For Parents and Teachers

October 14, 2020

The Flock of Doves- A Guide for Teachers and Parents

Step 1 – Introduce the Story

Story Synopsis – ‘Storyteller’s Corner’:

In this ancient Panchatantra tale, a flock of doves is captured in a hunter’s net.  To escape certain doom, the King of the Doves tells the flock to flap their wings together all at once, as a team. Although they are still trapped in the net, their collective strength allows them to get beyond the hunter’s reach. When they land they meet up with a colony of mice, who frees the flock by chewing through the net.

Exploring the Premise or Big Idea: How this story relates to our world today.

This is a Panchatantra tale from India. The Panchatantra is a collection of short stories written in the second century, BC. The term ‘Panchatantra’ means ‘five strategies’: pancha (five), and tantra (practice). The stories demonstrate five strategies for successful living.

The original purpose of these stories was to impart wisdom to the young sons of the king, but they have since been made accessible to the general population and are now enjoyed the world over. (Early Civilizations, Character Education, Equity & Inclusive Education)

This story models the value of teamwork and cooperation, and provides a character (the King of the Doves) who shows qualities of compassionate leadership and mindfulness. The story also shows the value of friendship and loyalty, as demonstrated in the relationship of the King of the Doves and Queen Mouse. Ultimately it is this friendship that allows the doves to escape the net.

Step 2: Play the Recorded Story

Listening Suggestions:

Storyvalues recordings are designed to elicit mental pictures through the interplay of narration, music and sounds. Mindful listening can be facilitated by having the listener take a deep breath or two, becoming aware of his or her immediate surroundings and physical sensations and finding a quiet comfortable place to listen. 

Play the recorded story for your class or individual child, pausing occasionally to make predictions or to contribute problem solving ideas.  (Inference)

Step 3 – What Do You Think?

Stories provide a great foundation for children to express their own personal viewpoints about the characters, the plot and the various situations that arise in the narration. Questions such as, ‘what was your favourite part of the story’, ‘if you were one of the characters who would you be’, ‘what do you think is the main idea of this story’ are a few examples of questions that can elicit kids to express themselves.

Story Discussion Suggestions:

This story and the recording can be used to support a wide range of curriculum, including Language & Literacy, Social Studies, Arts, Geography, Character Education and Social and Emotional Learning.

Broad Concepts: Cooperation, Leadership and Teamwork

  • Introduce and define the word cooperation. (Cooperation – ‘the process of working together to achieve a common goal.’) Explore the implications of what this means and invite each student to contribute their ideas about what cooperation is, sharing examples from their own life experience.
  • Likewise, define leadership. (Leadership – ‘the ability to inspire others to perform to the best of their ability.’)
  • Likewise define teamwork. (Teamwork – a group effort to achieve a common goal.)
  • As the story shows, the doves were able to escape the hunter by working together as a team. By cooperating with one another, they were able to fly away to safety. How might the story have ended differently had they not worked together toward a common goal?  (Visualization, Inference)
  • What are some of the situations that arise at school that require cooperation?  (Text-to-Self)
  • Using the story as a reference point, discuss real-life examples of teamwork, leadership and cooperation. (Text-to-Self)

In this story (from India), the King of the Doves provides the leadership needed by the flock to become free from the net they were trapped within.

Gandhi: A Specific Example of Leadership

This may provide a basis for an interesting discussion about the great Indian leader Mahatma Ghandi, whose leadership provided the means for India to become free of British rule in 1947. (Character Education, Text-to-Self, Text-to-World)

  • Introduce your students to Mahatma Ghandi. (Character Education)
  • One of the hallmarks of Ghandi’s leadership was his practice of nonviolence. Explore how he was able to influence the thinking of millions of people and achieve independence for his country in such an original, peaceful way. (Text-to-Self, Character Education, Equity & Inclusive Education)
  • The story provides an allegory for how effective cooperation, teamwork and wise leadership can be in resolving a difficult situation.
  • Contrast and compare the fictional ‘Flock of Doves’ story with the factual story example of Ghandi and his historical accomplishment of freeing India from British rule. (Character Education, Social and Emotional Learning)
  • Discuss how Ghandi was a major influence on Martin Luther King, Jr and his leadership in the US civil rights movement. (Text-to-Self, Character Education, Equity & Inclusive Education)
Video Links – ‘Kid Friendly’ information

Mindfulness: Peer Pressure and The Value of Thinking for Oneself

  • Even though the doves were trapped in the net, the king was able to remain calm. This calm state of mind helped him see a solution to the problem they all shared, then to communicate to the flock in a way they could understand. What might have happened if the king had reacted differently (with fear, anger, indifference, etc.)?

Literacy Connections – Discussion Suggestions:

These questions can help students reflect on the content of the story and draw parallels to their own life experience. The questions can apply to the story as a whole, or to individual characters and situations.


  • What does, ‘The Flock of Doves,’ remind you of in your life?
  • What in the story is similar to your life?
  • How is the story different from your life?


  • Does ‘The Flock of Doves’ remind you of other stories you have heard or read?
  • How is the story similar to other stories you’ve heard or read?
  • How is the story different from other stories you’ve heard or read?


  • What does, ‘The Flock of Doves,’ remind you of in the world?
  • How is the story similar to what happens in the world? 
  • How is the story different from what happens in the world?


  • Does ‘The Flock of Doves’ remind you of a particular movie, song or television program?
  • Have you seen anyone in the news talking about some of the ideas that are in the story: leadership, cooperation and teamwork?

Step 4: Fact and Fiction

In Storyvalues, we use folktales, myths and legends as a foundation to explore culture, character, creativity and communications. Studies show that information is more efficiently internalized when presented in narrative form; our goal is to first engage though storytelling, then to extend the engagement by expanding into other areas of study. In this way, stories can be used as a basis to teach virtually any subject. Here are a few suggestions and examples: 

Cultural Explorations:

Modern India is a dynamic society that encompasses great diversity, from traditional tribal culture to the most modern urban centres.

Indian society a wide range of belief systems: Buddhism, Sikhism, Jainism, Zoroastrianism, Christianity and Islam. In fact, India is one of the most diverse regions in the world. Over 1,600 languages and dialects are spoken here (22 official languages). (Social Studies, Equity & Diversity)

This story is a modern adaptation of a story that originates from India, one of the oldest continuous civilization on earth, with original settlements dating back almost 10,000 years.

Like all classic myths and folktales, this story is both an expression of the culture from which it originates as well as an embodiment of archetypal qualities people of every culture have in common.

It is our hope that our modern interpretation, along with the other information presented in the program, will inspire greater understanding of the importance of diversity and equality in children, as well as interest in Indian culture.

Here are some handy links that may be of use as you and your child (or class) explore this vital culture:


Explore the map on ‘The Flock of Doves’ story page to discover that India is a peninsula; land that is surrounded on three sides by water.

Explain that India is a country, in the continent of Asia. Locate this region in relation to where your school is located. (Geography, Text-to-World)

India is a very interesting and unique place; the largest democracy in the world and one of the oldest civilizations on earth. Here are just a few topics of interest that may inspire curiosity: 

  • There are 22 official languages spoken in India. Of these languages, Hindi is the most commonly used.
  • Hinduism is the most popular religion, practiced by over 80% of the population, followed by Islam (15%).
  • The first settlements in the region of India occurred almost 10,000 years ago (7000BCE).

Personal Stories

One of the goals of this program is to inspire children to be effective communicators – storytellers, in their own right.

To this end, ask your students to share any personal stories they may have involving India or Indian culture. Perhaps someone has relatives or friends, has travelled, or is from there. Encourage your students to share their stories with the class. 

The story of The Flock of Doves speaks of cooperation, leadership and teamwork. The culture from which this story originates – Indian – faced a significant challenge in achieving independence from British colonization, which lasted from 1857 to 1947. Achieving autonomy from the British required  required an abundance of  these character traits, most notable personified by the leader of the movement, Mahatma Gandhi.

Exploring the history and culture of India can broaden one’s understanding of the world and help strengthen appreciation for diversity and the effects of colonization.

Step 5 – Matt’s Music and Art Corner

Support for Arts in Education:

This story and the recording can be used as a means to empower students to explore, interpret and express the content of each story in their own unique way. (Visit the Art Corner to learn more about the art images shown.)  (Visual Arts)

Creative Visualization and Art Suggestions:

The ideas embodied in this story (leadership, cooperation and teamwork), as well as the vivid characters (the Dove King, Queen Mouse, the hunter, etc.) provide a great opportunity for students to explore their own skills of creative visualization and art.

Have your students listen to the recording in a quiet, peaceful setting, perhaps with the lights off and with their eyes closed. Have them pay close attention to how the music and sound effects work with the narration to establish a mood and sense of place.  Ask them to express in their own ideas on how these stylistic elements relate to the meaning of the story and how they help to form a mental picture of what is happening in the story. (Creative Visualization)

Then, have your students draw their own visual interpretation of the story. (Visualization, Visual Arts)

View examples of the many styles of Indian art, noting the differences and similarities between them. Here are a few examples:

Encourage students to create their own symbols and compositions that have meaning for them. Hang the resulting artwork in an exhibition celebrating individual uniqueness and equality.  (Visual Arts, Equity & Diversity)


The recording of ‘The Flock of Doves’ features music played on traditional Indian instruments; the Sitar, Tabla, Bansuri, Shenhai and Santoor. Familiarize your students with these, explore the samples of each instrument on the story page and ask them to identify the various sounds in the recording.  (Visit the Music Gallery section of this story’s web page to see photographs and to hear the sounds created by these musical instruments.)

Drama Project Suggestions:

The story, ‘The Flock of Doves,’ with it’s vivid characters and interesting premise, can provide a great foundation for a drama project. Using the written version as the basis for a script, develop a performance with your students. 

Alternatively, have students learn to retell the story, focusing on the importance of expression through voice, body language and facial expression. (Storytelling).

Other suggestions:

  • Read or tell other Panchatantra tales from India. (Text-to-Text)
  • Some Panchatantra stories may be familiar, since similar stories have appeared in other cultures as well. For example, the story The Lion and the Rabbit is the forerunner to Brer Rabbit and the Boss Lion. (Text-to-Text)
  • Illustrate favorite Panchatantra tales and create a book for the class. (Visual Arts, Literacy)
  • Older students may want to learn a story to tell (rather than read), thus continuing the great multicultural tradition of oral storytelling. (Storytelling)

Book Suggestions: 

Panchatantra: The Complete Version by Pandit Vishnu

Stories from India by Anna Milborne

Traditional Stories from India by Vayu Naidu

Anklet for a Princess: A Cinderella Story from India by Meredith Babeaux Brucker

Story Sources:

Panchatantra: The Complete Version by Pandit Vishnu