The Importance of Emotional Intelligence
The Cambridge Dictionary defines emotional intelligence as “the ability to understand and control your own feelings, and to understand the feelings of others and react to them in a suitable way.”
Last term, our Intermediates and Foundation Phase both explored emotions, which included how to show empathy. Equipped with this understanding, children can develop healthy relationships with one another, and we have witnessed evidence of a greater appreciation for others’ feelings as we returned to school after the Easter break.
The children have been particularly thoughtful in how they’ve included a new child, they show high levels of empathy whenever someone gets hurt during play, and, in PE, they naturally celebrate when other children do well, even when they are on the other team!
Alongside the children being emotionally intelligent, adults / teachers need to be emotionally aware so all children can thrive and become the best version of themselves. As staff, we aim to create a learning environment where:
- children are the priority
- children can ‘be’, and through this understand that school is a safe place
- children can share their thoughts, ideas, knowledge and understanding, knowing that they will be listened to and their contributions valued and respected
- children are willing to take risks, because failure is not a concept
- each child’s intelligence, creativity and personality are celebrated; uniqueness and diversity being a gift
- each child is encouraged and challenged to go further in relation to their capabilities
In order to create a learning environment where all children can thrive, relationships between staff and students are key. As adults, we need to try to really see and understand each child; to recognise how to relate to them as individuals; to inspire, nurture and support in a way that is most appropriate for them.
We need the social and emotional intelligence to know who benefits from sitting close to an adult, who needs more time to think, which children will value being asked what they think, and which children we need to include in a discussion at the start to keep them engaged throughout. It all helps to provide a context in which all children can thrive.
As staff, this means we need to take time to reflect; to consider where a child may need additional support or where they might need treating differently. It means tweaking our approach to provide a socially and emotionally appropriate safe space for all.