Why Emotional Intelligence in a School Curriculum?

school kids diligently working at a table during class

Every child and adult can face a myriad of emotions from being anxious and overwhelmed to being angry and tired. All age ranges may face and deal with these natural emotions but if we were taught to understand, control, and express it at an early age, we gain emotional intelligence (EI). It is important we ask why emotional intelligence in a school curriculum?

Parents try to teach their children about right and wrong, establishing good behavior, kindness, empathy, etc. But it is also important to teach them about controlling emotions and managing them. Parenting can be hard, and as a parent I want my kids to be happy. When my son or daughter gets angry or sad, I immediately want to comfort them with a quick and easy remedy, but that’s not a long-term solution.

Instead of offering quick fixes, we can start by taking small steps to help our children recognize their big feelings and frustrations. We can teach them that these feelings are controllable and show them how to navigate such emotional situations. And this is exactly what our curriculum at Schoolio covers.  As a founder of a homeschooling curriculum solution, I built Schoolio to help parents with structured and affordable Canadian curriculum kits covering core subjects from math, language, sciences, and social studies, including lessons in financial literacy, coding, etc.

What is Emotional Intelligence?

Emotional intelligence (EI) is the ability to manage one’s emotions and express them in a correct manner. Kids start exhibiting emotional stimuli from the age of four, when they slowly understand the concepts of fear, happiness, sadness, etc. Some ways of practicing emotional intelligence include accepting criticism and responsibility, the ability to say ‘no’, having good listening skills and a problem-solving mindset, the ability to share your feelings, etc.

EI is known to have a more significant impact than IQ in achieving professional and personal goals. EI helps children to establish stronger relationships and succeed in academics. High EI is known to improve physical and psychological health (Bar-On & Parker, 2000) and is an integral part of forming and developing meaningful interpersonal relations (Schutte et al., 2001).

We could break down emotional intelligence into three sections:

  1. Emotional Awareness
  2. Emotional Understanding
  3. Ability of Expression

Emotional Awareness is a significant component of EI and is known as the ability to be conscious and make sense of your and other’s emotions. Developing Emotional Awareness allows you to clearly communicate your emotional state, navigate difficulties faster, and better understand others. Emotional Understanding is the ability to identify, predict, and explain emotions in oneself and others. Being able to perceive emotions helps to interpret the cause and what they could mean. The Ability of Expression equips one to be vocal about their thoughts and opinions and developing skills that help seamlessly navigate conversations, confrontations, and conflicts. We live in a world where communication is the key, the ability to express plays an indispensable role.

How do Managing Your Emotions help?

Psychologists mention that emotional intelligence could be more important than IQ to determine success in life. Now more than ever, kids must receive guidance to develop their EI.

For example, we teach concepts like “detective thinking” where students are given a situation and work to uncover and “detect” any unhelpful thoughts at play in everyday life scenarios. This helps the child understand which emotions are unhelpful and how they can prevent them to lead a more positive life. Another strategy we’ve implemented is called the “Runaway Thoughts” which helps kids regain control of their emotions by controlling their reactions to situations when their emotions are high.

The special unit “Managing Emotions” we designed teaches kids about good days and bad days, mental health, confronting their feelings, using calming strategies to stay positive, recognize any toxic or unhelpful emotions or thoughts, and expressing their feelings from an early age to avoid stress as they grow up. All of these lessons fall under holistic education and that’s my mission behind starting Schoolio, and I hope other schools and parents include emotional intelligence as required teaching for their children. The change has to start somewhere, and it has to start now.


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