In this increasingly fast moving and unpredictable world, where rapid social change is the norm, academic qualifications will no longer be enough to compete and succeed in life. There is an increasing need for developing social and emotional skills in our young people.
Should Happiness be part of the School Curriculum? This question is being asked more and more frequently. I have believed for a long time that this kind of approach to education is not an option, it has to be seen as essential to our children’s emotional well-being.
When I was asked repeatedly, by some of the 950 male prisoners in a maximum security prison I taught Mindfulness and Emotional Intelligence programmes to:
‘Miss, why didn’t they teach us this in school?’
I realised what I had to do. I designed, developed, and promoted a revolutionary new concept for New Zealand schools. A Mindfulness and Emotional Intelligence (E.Q) programme, which covers the 4 major components of E.Q, including how to create a Positive Mental Attitude, Goal Setting, building Resilience and Grit, and developing a Growth Mindset. This programme can be delivered to students from ages 5 -18.
I now teach this programme, within public and private sector schools, with amazing results ! One mum told me her child, who I’d taught, said to her ‘Mum I don’t listen to my Inner Critic anymore I listen to my Inner Champion!’ She was bowled over by the shift in him. Another child expressed that my classes helped him remain calm when he was angry because he knew how to manage the emotion. One girl didn’t get the grades she wanted in her end of school assessments and instead of giving up, or indulging in her usual negative self-talk, she set about identifying some goals to ensure better results next time, creating a plan to develop her skills instead of seeing herself as a failure.(See my testimonials for more feedback from the children and teachers).
In school, emotions matter. Not only do children with anxiety and aggression have difficulty focusing and learning, they also tend to be victims or perpetrators of bullying. 45,000 children per week in NZ report being bullied. Bullying has been found to be deeply rooted in a lack of Emotional Intelligence.
E.Q. can also help young people manage challenges around alcohol, drugs, anti-social behaviour, emotional regulation- stress, impulse control, lack of resilience, peer pressure, low self-esteem, lack of confidence, identity-fitting in. It also develops individuals who are:
- Emotionally mature and self-aware.Able to identify and express feelings
- Able to manage anger, stress, anxiety and other strong emotions.
- Have an awareness of WHO they are and their identity, which supports them in resisting peer pressure.
- They operate values based decision making.
- Have high self-esteem, confidence and experience greater happiness.
- Effective problem solving and conflict resolution skills
- Achieve increased academic and personal success. Demonstrating increased engagement and focus in school and able to set and achieve goals.
- They become effective leaders, and enjoy successful careers.
- Able to take responsibility for themselves and their own learning.
- Improved relationships with parents, teachers and peers. Open communication.
Students who are emotionally healthy are in control of their emotions and behaviour. They’re able to handle life’s inevitable challenges, build strong relationships, and lead productive, fulfilling lives. They bounce back when things go wrong, build Resilience, Perseverance and Grit, and can manage stress without falling apart.
Research shows that I.Q accounts for 20% of a person’s success in life, and E.Q accounts for the other 80%.
I have also delivered both teacher training and parent training, to enable the students receiving my programme, to be supported in their learning around Mindfulness and Emotional Intelligence. A successful emotional curriculum takes a whole-school approach. It includes educating teachers, administrators and parents, for many of whom these skills will be new.
I have a passion for supporting young people in discovering and developing their human potential, not just their intellectual potential. I visualise Self Science/Psychological Education becoming integrated into every school’s curriculum, being seen as important as Maths or English. This is crucial if we are to equip our youth adequately for life.
Raising awareness of the benefits of my programme is taking a lot of time, partly due to the majority of school’s focus being on external achievements-exam results and academic assessments and achievements,and partly due to decision makers not understanding the benefits of taking an ‘Inside Out’ approach to educating students. But time is not something we have, when we consider the rising mental health issues young children are experiencing -stress, depression, anxiety, low resilience and self esteem, negative self regard and the resulting behaviours- bullying, self harm, drugs and suicide.
This is the best investment we can make for our children as what they learn will serve them for life.Emotional Intelligence is like a secret weapon for success! A new superpower! By supporting our children in developing their E.Q now, we can build on their achievement in the present, and secure their success for the future.We are responsible for the next generation, to provide them with the necessary skills needed to navigate this modern world, and to deal effectively with the challenges and stresses that life in 21st Century brings.
How are you investing in your child’s Mental Fitness and Emotional Health?
Please contact me if you would be interested in this material for your child or school.