Helping children develop emotional literacy at school
Dr Nandeesh B
Kalyan nagar, Bengaluru Apr 15, 2019
The education of a child should focus on his or her all-round development. Besides ensuring the physical and mental development of the children, schools must ensure the development of emotional literacy among children.
What is emotional literacy?
In simple terms, emotional literacy refers to the ability to express one’s feelings and convey one’s emotions. According to Steiner (a renowned psychotherapist), emotional literacy includes the following:
- Knowing one’s feelings.
- Having a sense of empathy.
- Learn to manage one’s emotions.
- Addressing emotional problems.
- Emotional interactivity.
To sum it up, emotional literacy is the ability to understand one’s feelings and empathize with others to facilitate relationships.
Importance of emotional literacy:
Emotional literacy is one of the most important factors in promoting happiness and satisfaction among children. With the help of research into areas like learning disabilities, behavioral disorders etc., people have become more aware of the importance of emotional literacy. Emotional literacy improves the child’s self-esteem and helps him or her in dealing with social and emotional affairs. Without emotional literacy, a child may find it hard to make new friends or sustain friendships, which can be very detrimental to the growth of the child. In due course of time, lack of emotional literacy can manifest in various types of behavioral, mental, and emotional disorders like anxiety disorder, depression, etc. Hence, the importance of emotional literacy in today’s world should not be overlooked.
Developing emotional literacy:
School is one of the best places to develop emotional literacy among children. It is not possible to impart all aspects of emotional literacy at home itself, but at school, children are surrounded by other children, friends, teachers, staff etc., which can provide the perfect environment for the development of emotional literacy. Some simple ways in which schools can help children develop emotional literacy are:
- Use flashcards or a picture book to help children develop the feelings and emotions vocabulary. Children should be able to label various feelings like happy, sad, anger, proud, etc.
- Make the children explore and distinguish between similar and different things. Basic distinctions and word pairs like is/is not, same/different, before/after etc. can empower the children to express themselves in a better way.
- Play therapy has been found to be particularly beneficial for the development of emotional literacy. In play therapy, a therapist uses various creative games and techniques to enable the child to deal with various psychological and emotional situations and conditions.
- Promote child’s co-operation with other children.
- Use hypothetical scenarios to make the child understand how other’s might feel in a particular situation.