Emotional Literacy Overview This module will focus on practices to: Teach children emotional vocabulary, especially words for positive feelings. Help children identify emotions in themselves and others. Talk with parents about emotional literacy.
By the end of this module, you should be able to: Teach children expanded emotional vocabulary. Use strategies to help children identify emotions. Plan to use books to encourage emotional literacy.
Describe effective approaches to talk with parents about emotional literacy. Intentional Teaching Framework What Is Emotional Literacy?
Emotional literacy is the ability to identify, understand, and express emotions in a healthy way. Benefits for Children
Manage frustration more successfully Have fewer conflicts Engage in more positive behavior Are healthier Control impulses better Learn more in school
Head Start Early Learning Outcomes Framework Image credit: Administration for Children and Families, Office of Head Start Emotional Development from Birth Emotions in First Year of Life
Birth to 6 Months 6 Months to 1 Year Contentment: Smiles after eating Interest: Tracks new objects Distress: Cries when left alone Fear:
Suddenly shows fear of strangers at 7 or 8 months when didnt at 6 months Infants and Others Emotions Emotional Contagion When one infant
starts crying, another joins in. Social Referencing At 8 to12 months, infants use caregivers facial expressions or vocal cues to decide how
to deal with new situations. Emotions Ages 2 to 4 Age Emotional Development 2
Begins to understand others emotions and to have empathy. 3 Understands cause and effect in interactions with children and adults.
4 Knows that others have separate feelings and desires. Self-Conscious Emotions Embarrassment Guilt
Shame Pride Around age 2, children start to understand that they are distinct from other people and begin
to form a sense of self. A Look at Guilt and Shame Embarrassment Guilt Shame
Pride Both guilt and shame can be painful emotions, but which one is likely to be more harmful to a childs sense of self? Why? Multiple Emotions Most preschoolers struggle to understand
that people can experience more than one emotion at the same time. Example: During a wedding ceremony, Pauls mother starts crying. When Paul tries to console her by saying, Its okay mommy, dont be sad, she says, No, Im happy because they are getting married and smiles at him through her tears.
Teaching Emotional Vocabulary Emotional Vocabulary Write a list of ten feeling words that you would like to teach
young children. Share Many Emotion Words Use happy, mad, and sad, but add in surprised, annoyed, excited and more... Like other forms of literacy,
the richer the vocabulary, the more rewarding the experiences. (Joseph & Strain, 2003, p. 1) Negative or Positive? daring fascinated quiet reliable
brave confident merry snoopy In one study, children who had
fewer emotion words in their vocabulary also showed ongoing challenging behavior. Make Plans to Teach Emotion Words
Discouraged Joyful Signs for Emotions Think about these questions while watching this video: How does the teacher teach emotional vocabulary?
How do the children respond? What else could the teacher do to engage the children in learning? VIDEO: Signs for Emotions Video Debrief What did you notice?
The teacher uses sign language in addition to the names of the emotions. Some children join in and sign the emotions. She could also ask children to share a time when they felt that emotion.
Label Throughout the Day Describe what you notice about childrens moods. You two seem really happy to be playing together! You keep hugging each other!
Star Child Think about these questions while watching this video: How does this teacher label the childs emotion? How does the child respond? VIDEO: Star Child
Video Debrief What did you notice in this video? The teacher asks if the girl is excited. The girl nods her head yes. The teacher describes the big smile on the girls face, which suggests she is excited.
Identifying Emotions Help Children Read Cues Point out: Expressions on faces Body language
Tone of voice Teach them to identify emotions in themselves and others. Conversations: Accident
Think about these questions while watching this video: What does the teacher do to help a child identify his feeling? How does the child respond? What else could the teacher have done to expand the childs learning?
VIDEO: Conversations: Accident Video Debrief What did you notice? The teacher asks the boy how he is feeling. The teacher validates the childs feeling by describing that he would also feel that way in a
similar situation. How Did You Feel? Think about these questions while watching this video: What does the teacher say and do to help children identify their feelings? How do the children respond?
What else could the teacher do? VIDEO: How Did You Feel? Video Debrief What did you notice? The teacher asks children how they feel. She brings children to a chart with
feeling faces to help them identify their emotions. She asks them what happened to change their feeling. Using Story Books Ask questions about what characters are feeling and why.
Share new emotion words and meanings. Plan activities related to emotions that arise in the book. Sample Activity I feel proud when I reach the top of the
climber. Example: Make a class book with childrens photos and stories about feelings.
Using Books: Emotional Literacy Form small groups. Look at a story book. Take a look at the Book Nooks on the website http://csefel.van derbilt.edu, but
create your own activities. How would you use this book to support emotional literacy during group story time? Plan questions to ask, emotion words to teach, and two activities that relate to the story and support
emotional literacy. Families and Culture Ideal Emotions Think about these questions while watching this video: In what ways can cultures vary in the way they value
emotions? Why is this important for teachers to know? VIDEO: Ideal Emotions (Real to Reel: Exploring Culture and Emotions excerpt) Video Debrief Cultures may value different
emotions such as excited or calm. It is important to understand differences to avoid making assumptions about childrens behavior. Impact on Self-Conscious Emotions Situations that cause self-conscious
emotions in children may vary across cultures. Example: Among Zuni Indians, standing out from others is discouraged. As a result, Zuni children who achieve an individual success, such as outdoing peers on a task, may feel embarrassment or shame. Talking with Families
What questions would be helpful to ask families about what they teach their children about emotions? What words can you use to indicate respect and equal partnership with families? How can you share about practices you are using to teach
emotional literacy and why? Bringing It All Together Teachers encourage emotional literacy when they: Teach emotional vocabulary, including words that describe positive feelings.
Help children identify their feelings and those of others. Talk with parents about values and practices related to emotions. Teaching Emotion Words Spend a couple hours observing children in your class and the
emotions they express. Based on your observation, make a plan to teach two feeling words to a small group of children. Think about child-friendly definitions, ways to show children how to identify the emotions, and opportunities for children to share about times when they felt them.
Using Books to Teach Emotional Literacy 1. Make a plan to use a childrens story book to teach children about emotions. 2. Arrange to film your lesson with children. 3. Read the book and do the
planned activities. 4. Review your recording and reflect on your use of practices and childrens responses. This document was prepared under Grant #90HC0002 for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Head Start, by the National Center on Quality Teaching and Learning.
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