Emotional Intelligence: Safeguard Children’s Long-term Mental Health

Research suggests that an improved integration of emotional intelligence within schools could have a significant impact on mental health, academic progress, and social skills for children.

Reporting for the Metro, Emily Reynolds calls upon a new study from the University of Illinois at Chicago, UBC and Loyola University, which states that lessons in emotional intelligence could provide young people will the necessary skills to reach their potential.

Those leading the study were interested as to whether the benefits would have a long-term impact rather than just an immediate but temporary effect. Helping children to understand and better articulate their emotions, feel empathy, and maintain relationships, are all integral elements to the development of sustainable emotional intelligence. This sustainability needs to be measured if schools are going to make an investment.

Taking a vast look at 82 programs across the USA, Europe, and the UK, it was found that the impact was positive. The children retained what they’d learnt and it began to inform the way they understood and self-regulated going forward.

For further insight into the study, find Emily’s Metro article here.

It is, of course, necessary to embed the emotional intelligence classes into the curriculum. One-off sessions may seem easier, but consistent and integrated teaching is the only way to ensure long-term success.

This technique has been effectively instilled at Fairchildes School in Croydon. In a blog post for Place2Be, Ros Sandell and Jo Hussey from the school discuss the important of working with ‘the whole child’. Academic progress is important, but for true success they believe that emotional intelligence cannot be ignored.

Sandell and Hussey mention that in the past, children may have been labelled ‘troublemakers’ when they are instead exhibiting gaps in their emotional framework. We have the knowledge to factor this into our reading of situations, which is why it would be beneficial to cast it over the hole curriculum on a whole-school basis.

The teachers at Fairchildes identify those who struggle with things we might take for granted, such as reading body language, in order to support them on their journey to better emotional regulation.

Discovering triggers and combating their associated behaviours rather than fighting against them or giving punishments is integral. This idea is also rich within the Thrive Approach – We must learn to understand why the child is behaving in such a way in order to work with them rather than creating further frustration and, as a result, detachment.

To find out more about Place2Be’s role at Fairchildes, click here.

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