Could teaching emotions be as simple as a deck of flash cards?...
It’s a common resource in an early years classroom, flash cards with happy, excited, scared, sad and angry faces on them as part of a theme on ‘emotions’. Teaching a child to identify emotions can be taught in this manner. That is totally ok. However, in our experience a child can often be confused by such a black and white teaching practice as this is just touching on what emotions really are. We once had feedback that a usually happy child had begun talking about everything that made her angry. Her mother then realised that her kindergarten was focusing on one ‘emotion’ per week. As we know all children need to learn how to identify and express their emotions in order to manage them. However, teaching a child about emotions is a MUCH deeper concept and requires gentle exposure and practices.
We feel there needs to be more awareness that what we tell these little minds will become their belief system.
What about teaching them from a young age that emotions come from thoughts and that there are ways to slow their minds, which in turn calms their bodies?
What about teaching a child to tune in to the present moment, which in turn tunes them into their own thoughts and feelings?
What about teaching them that calming their mind is important because it opens them up to create and learn new things?
There is just so much you can do with children to teach them about emotions. It requires more of a holistic approach, where children aren’t given a generic answer. Each child develops so differently and we believe in allowing emotions to organically ‘come up’. We also believe in daily practices that create emotional awareness, resilience and sense of self. The best part about creating mindful practices that connect a child with their natural state of being --- is that the children don’t even know they are actually engaged in deep social and emotional learning. They will grow up to believe that nurturing yourself emotionally is the ‘norm’.
How amazing would that be.