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“Emotional Intelligence”… is it a quirky catchphrase, or vital life skill? It is the latter, and is a vital skill every child should be learning at school in order to succeed in all areas of their life.

Aristotle first said it; “Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all”. 2,300 years later, this theory has become a significant component of each child’s learning journey.

Intellectual intelligence is only one aspect of learning. In fact, we are often hearing that a well-rounded education is more than just knowledge gained. Children developing their emotional intelligence is just as important.

So, what is Emotional Intelligence?

It is the ability to communicate and get along with others. It sounds simple enough, but young children often need support and guidance to navigate the highs and lows of their feelings.

Emotions impact our attention, memory, learning, ability to build relationships with others, and physical and mental health (Salovey & Mayer, 1990). Children with higher emotional intelligence are better able to pay attention, are more engaged in school, have more positive relationships and are more empathic (Raver, Garner & Smith-Donald 2007; Eggum et al.2011).

Daniel Goleman, author of EQ: Why it can matter more than IQ, states the five competencies of emotional quotient (EQ) as self-awareness, self-regulation, internal motivation, empathy and social skills. Further research supports that these skills are competencies of star performers in organisations and future achievers.

At Peace Lutheran College, we use two programs to support our students in the development of their emotional intelligence – the ‘Zones of Regulation’ and ‘You Can Do It’. We firmly believe that teaching children how to recognise feelings, including where they come from and how to deal with them, are some of the most essential skills for success in life.

The ‘Zones of Regulation’ use cartoon characters to visually describe four emotional zones that our emotions flow through during the day. We use these to teach the students to name, talk about and develop strategies how to deal with their feelings. Dr Daniel Siegel, co-author of Parenting from the Inside Out calls it, “name it to tame it”.

Our school’s ‘You Can Do It’ program uses five characters to teach social emotional skills of resilience, persistence, getting along, organisation and confidence.

Through regular use of teaching and language around emotional development, Peace Lutheran College students are well on their way to achieving success in emotional and academic development.