Positive Emotional Intelligence Photo by Legacy Academy

Emotional Intelligence and Why It Matters in Preschool

Posted on August 23, 2018 : Posted in Legacy Academy
Positive Emotional Intelligence Photo by Legacy Academy

When you think of educating your child, more than likely you focus on academics. The “Three Rs” (reading, writing, and arithmetic) have become practically synonymous with early childhood education. While academics are indeed necessary, young children need other skills to be successful. For this reason, Legacy Academy focuses on emotional intelligence as well as academics in preschool. Whether you’re a parent or a childcare provider, understanding emotional intelligence and why it matters to our young students is crucial.

What is Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence is a set of skills that center around being attentive to emotions, both in yourself and in others. It also includes the ability to express and use emotions appropriately, both for society and your particular situation. Our emotions play a significant role in most of our lives, including our physical and mental health. In fact, all aspects of our lives are at least somewhat affected by our emotions. Developing emotional intelligence means learning the acceptable ways and places to express your emotions, as well as the beneficial ways to manage emotions while making decisions, interacting in relationships, and forming self-image.

Why Emotional Intelligence Is So Important

These essential emotional skills provide many positive outcomes for both children and adults. For example, a higher capacity to properly navigate emotions often leads to higher attentiveness, engagement, and positivity. Additionally, a child’s empathy directly links to their emotional intelligence. Children who score high in emotional intelligence are better at regulating their behavior and score better on tests. Others see them as leaders, with better social skills and mental health than their peers. Overall, research has shown that persons with higher emotional intelligence have a higher quality of life and relationships, regardless of age or social status.

How We Teach These Skills

There are many ways to teach emotional identification and regulation. For one, we emphasize recognizing and naming emotions in ourselves and others. Giving an emotion the correct name eases the anxiety of big unknown feelings and gives a child power over his or her internal life. Emotional intelligence also requires a lot of practice. We take the opportunity to discuss what caused the emotion, how it makes our bodies feel, how we can ease any discomfort, and the appropriate ways to express our feelings. The process is rarely perfect, which is still a vital component of the overall goal. By recognizing both positive and negative responses to emotions, children begin to self-regulate rather than needing instruction.

Why We Start So Young

Preschoolers are excellent learners. There’s a reason you often hear them referred to as “little sponges.” Because of their incredible capacity for learning and growth, young children are the perfect candidates for emotional learning. Preschool is a time of exploring the world. Instead of limiting that exploration to nature and academics only, we also encourage children to explore their own minds. We add vocabulary to describe their experience and coping skills to ease their transition. Learning these things once language and behavior have become more fixed, as it is in elementary school, is a far more difficult task. If a child can learn skills like positive self-talk, calming exercises, asking for space when they need it, and respecting others’ boundaries, they are far ahead of peers without those skills.

While there are many important skill sets children should learn in early schooling, few guarantee the benefits of emotional intelligence. For this reason, Legacy Academy prioritizes teaching our young students the language and practice of successful emotional self-regulation. If you would like to hear more about Legacy Academy and how we offer exceptional care for students from the age of 6 weeks to 12 years old, contact us today.