New podcast episode: A tool to help children understand emotions

1st January 2022| Blogs

The latest episode of Thrive’s Connected podcast features an initiative by Maple Cross Junior Mixed Infant and Nursery School, in Hertfordshire, which is helping children to name and understand their emotions and how they impact their behaviour.

The technique is used with children who have been involved in a behavioural incident, usually related to aggression or conflict. Children are asked to define the intensity of their feelings and then  describe their emotions before, during and after the incident. Using a simple one-sheet pro forma, children are asked to score their anger or anxiety using a scale of one to five. They are then asked to think about what happened, their own feelings and those of others’ that were involved and to suggest ways of doing things differently in a similar situation.

Called Mapping My Emotions, the scheme has resulted in fewer behavioural incidents at the school, with children reporting an increased level of insight into their own feelings and empathy towards others’.

“The way we communicate around emotions has changed in our school. Children are not scared to say: ‘I am angry’ or ‘I am upset’ and they know that while certain behaviours are not OK, the feelings that underlie them are OK,” said Lucy Bone, Thrive Licensed Practitioner® at Maple Cross JMI.

In the podcast, Lucy explains how and when the school uses the tool and the results they have achieved. To give listeners an additional resource, we wanted to show what the pro forma looked like.

A blank pro forma looks like this:

Completed sheets look like this:

Mapping My Emotions

Children can choose whether they use words or draw images to represent their feelings and filling in the sheets is not something that is meant to be a punishment. Instead, the initiative was introduced as something that pupils had ownership of, with sheets made available in every classroom for children to pick up and use when they want to. The only exceptions to this are the school’s younger pupils where staff may suggest using the tool and will support them to complete the form in whatever way is appropriate to their developmental level.

To find out more, listen at

To find out more about Maple Cross JMI School log on to or see @MapleCrossJMI on Twitter.

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