We’ve talked about our preschool’s belief in the importance of learning through play. Just as important, we believe, is helping our children become strong socially and emotionally. About 25 years ago. a couple psychologists coined the phrase “Emotional Intelligence” and defined it as the ability to regulate, express, and control one’s emotions. While that may sound simple, it encompasses so much!
If you ever happen to be here in the morning, take a minute and watch our preschoolers doing curbside. They walk into school, hang up their coats, greet their teachers, get some germ gel, go into class, put away their backpacks, and begin their day! I would love to be able to listen to their inner voices as they’re doing all of that! It takes a lot of thinking and remembering to do all of that! And while they’re doing that, they’re waiting their turn, making eye contact and talking to teachers, being independent, practicing self regulation, and so much more! When I polled kindergarten teachers about what skills they want children going into kindergarten to have, these are the things they said! Imagine a kindergarten classroom with children who don’t know how to use the bathroom independently, wait their turn, line up, ask for help, regulate their emotions!
And while the children are here, they are learning all about how to be successful in this world. In order to do well in life, we need to be able to play (get along) with others, to carry on conversations, to compromise, to advocate for oneself, to take care of ourselves as well as others. Did you notice I used the word “compromise?” I plan to do a future blog post all about sharing but quite often, you’ll hear the children say, “when you’re done playing with that, can I have a turn?” That’s what we want to hear! Or, sometimes when things get a little heated, we might even hear, “I don’t like it when you do that. Stop!” We want our children to be aware of their emotions as well as other’s.
And, some people believe that Emotional Intelligence is more important than IQ. It’s an interesting point. If someone is able to handle their emotions, to sit and listen, to wait their turn, etc, then they are going to be able to learn much more effectively. And, quite often people are much more successful in life when they are able to have good relationships with others, advocate for themselves, be independent! This is what we want for the children here at Aldersgate Preschool: to be successful, confident, empathetic, people!
Check out this article from Time about Emotional Intelligence: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/15/magazine/can-emotional-intelligence-be-taught.html?pagewanted=all&_r=1&