A tender flaw deserves compassion: There are many reasons children may not communicate feelings well, and all deserve compassion not punishment. For example, research shows that children who are well cared for and attached to their caregivers display a more complex emotional vocabulary allowing them to describe physiological and psychological states like hunger, thirst, anger, confusion. They make relevant decisions based on those feelings. This is a learned skill. Children who have not learned this skill or are maltreated do not display this vocabulary. Their parents may not have these skills or this vocabulary to pass on. The child may simply mimic the disorganized emotional response of the parent who does not know how to regulate emotions. We commonly refer to this as "acting out." This is acting outwardly those feelings that have no words.
The StoryBook Project StoryBook Series Selections
#traumainformedschools #SEL #socialemotionalliteracy #childwelfare #atriskchildren
Emotional Literacy was a term first used by Claude Steiner (1997) who says: Emotional literacy is made up of 'the ability to understand your emotions, the ability to listen to others and empathize with their emotions, and the ability to express emotions productively. ... Having a sense of empathy.
Emotional Regulation: Name Them to Tame Them
Child development experts and neuroscience agree that naming emotions helps children to regulate them. Emotional regulation is the ability to manage emotions and their related actions. The StoryBook Project illustrates this concept in a simple to comprehend series of art with a short fable just right for adults and children to discuss. The work can be used as a training tool for staff, parents, or others audiences.
SIMPLE HOW TO RESOURCES for parents and children from Michigan State University
FUN EMOTIONAL NAMING FOR ADULTS from Psychology Today
The Emotional Ecosystem
The concept of the emotional ecosystem was defined for this project as follows: the range of emotions, limited or complex, an individual accepts and uses to interact and make decisions. Attempting to banish, or suppress emotions throws the system into an imbalance.
A healthy Emotional Ecosystem is one that keeps you feeling mostly content. Ups and downs occur, but you recover well. A healthy emotional ecosystem is sustainable, allows you to maintain inner balance, and to thrive even in the face of change and adversity. It is typically diverse, that is, you can recognize a number of emotions; it has the ability to maintain its structure (organization and diversity) so you function well (vigor) over time in the face of external stress (resilience). Like any ecosystem, the healthy emotional landscape changes and adapts as it encounters stress of life.
An unhealthy Emotional Ecosystem leaves you feeling a victim of emotions. Small stresses can feel overwhelming, or you become numb. The unhealthy system may become disorganized and limited ( you can only recognize and name a few emotions, i.e. fear and anger), it lacks vigor (functions poorly) and cannot maintain itself well during stressful periods (lacks resilience). You may feel emotionally overwhelmed by life's challenges and changes, lash out in anger and blame others, or internalize stress as anxiety or depression. Like any ecosystem, the unhealthy emotional landscape borders on collapse if it encounters a severe stress.
The StoryBook Project
T-shirt illustration "Collateral Damage" 2015, Marcy Orendorff
Integral to my art mission is supporting emotional literacy and emotional learning programs. My graphic design, art ,and illustrations have been used in solo shows, at benefits and fundraisers, on posters and t-shirts for twenty years.
the following was excerpted from NPR article Why Emotional Learning May Be As Important As The ABCs,2014, link below
Thomas O'Donnell's kindergarten kids are all hopped up to read about Twiggle the anthropomorphic Turtle.
"Who can tell me why Twiggle here is sad," O'Donnell asks his class at Matthew Henson Elementary School in Baltimore.
"Because he doesn't have no friends," a student pipes up.
And how do people look when they're sad?
"They look down!" the whole class screams out.
Yeah, Twiggle is lonely. But, eventually, he befriends a hedgehog, a duck and a dog. And along the way, he learns how to play, help and share.
Teaching 4-Year-Olds To Feel Better
These are crucial skills we all need to learn, even in preschool and kindergarten. And common sense — along with a growing body of research — shows that mastering social skills early on can help people stay out of trouble all the way into their adult lives.
So shouldn't schools teach kids about emotions and conflict negotiation in the same way they teach math and reading? The creators of Twiggle the Turtle say the answer is yes.
Emotional Intelligence 101
Twiggle is part of a program called Promoting Alternative Thinking Strategies, or PATHS. It's designed to help young kids recognize and express emotions.
Matthew Henson Elementary is one of about 1,500 schools around the country using this program, which was first developed in the 1980s.
Every week, students get two 15- to 20-minute lessons on themes like self-control and treating others with respect. Especially for the youngest kids — in kindergarten and first grade — Twiggle often serves as their guide.
O'Donnell says his students are really taking to the lessons. They're trained, for example, to "do the Turtle" when they're upset. "That's when they stop and cocoon themselves. They wrap their arms around themselves and they say what the problem is," he explains.
O'Donnell's kids do the turtle all the time — in the hallway and during class.
Right before class starts, for example, one little girl tells her friend, "I don't like when you touch my hair, because it makes me sad."
"Sorry!" her friend responds.
While most kids will eventually figure out such strategies on their own, or with help from their parents, O'Donnell says, the lessons help them learn more quickly.
And for some, especially those with troubled home lives, Twiggle is their first and only introduction to healthy self-expression, he says. "Some of them don't have words to express how they feel before this."
The Long Game
We previously reported on a national study comparing PATHS and other, similar programs showing positive effects in preschool. They are based on research showing that kids who act up a lot in school and at home — even very young kids — are more likely to have mental health problems and commit crimes years later as adults.
So Kenneth Dodge, a psychologist at Duke University, asked, "Could we do something about that to prevent those problems from actually occurring?" And he has dedicated his career to answering that question.
He and his colleagues launched the FastTrack Project to see if they could change students' life trajectory by teaching them what researchers like to call social-emotional intelligence.
Back in 1991, they screened 5-year-olds at schools around the country for behavior problems. After interviewing teachers and parents, the researchers identified 900 children who seemed to be most at risk for developing problems later on.
Half of these kids went through school as usual — though they had access to free counseling or tutoring. The rest got PATHS lessons, as well as counseling and tutoring, and their parents received training as well — all the way up until the students graduated from high school.
By age 25, those who were enrolled in the special program not only had done better in school, but they also had lower rates of arrests and fewer mental health and substance abuse issues. The results of this decades-long study were published in September in the American Journal of Psychiatry.
The findings prove, Dodge says, "In the same way that we can teach reading literacy, we can teach social and emotional literacy."
Cost Versus Benefit
PATHS and FastTrack aren't the only programs of their kind. A social-emotional learning program called RULER, developed at Yale University, has shown promising results, as well. And every year, the Chicago-based Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning rates the top evidence-based emotional intelligence programs around the country.
So what's the catch? Why don't all schools offer emotional intelligence lessons?
Well, it's expensive.
The full, intensive FastTrack program costs around $50,000 per student, over a 10-year period. Schools can also pick and choose elements of the program.
For example, the short PATHS lessons about Twiggle at Matthew Henson Elementary cost less — about $600 per classroom to start, plus an additional $100 a year to keep it running.
It's pricey, but it does cost less per child than juvenile detention or rehab programs later on, according to Dodge. As a society, we spend a lot on remedial services — programs like PATHS are preventive, he says. "This is something that in the long run will save dollars."
At Clark K-8 School in Cleveland, fifth-grader Tommy DeJesus Jr. says he thinks it's been worthwhile.
DeJesus has been exposed to the PATHS curriculum since he was in kindergarten, and he says he continues to use the social skills he learned from good old Twiggle.
The other day, for example, DeJesus says, he was quick to step in when he saw that a friend was being teased. "They were making fun of his shoes and how he dressed. I said, 'Just because you have shoes and he doesn't, that doesn't give you the right to bully him,' " he says.
And the cool thing was, they listened.
By learning about their emotions early on, can children be mentally healthier and less likely to be arrested later? Yes, says the research
For the full NPR article: http://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2014/12/31/356187871/why-emotional-literacy-may-be-as-important-as-learning-the-a-b-c-s
#emotionalliteracy #emotions&art #artofsocialcommentary #labellingemotions #emotionalecosystem
Research shows that labeling feelings is the first step to understanding and communicating them properly.Children and adults participate in the world more effectively with an understanding of what they are feeling.
I would like to find a unique way to present this subject matter. One that engages audiences and delivers content in a unique way. I am in the process of creating a series of illustrations called the StoryBook Project which provide simple names for emotions and tell the story of a little girl who went looking for her feelings. I invite you to engage in the process.
Tags #emotional literacy #magical realism #artforsocialchange #artthatmatters
There is a misconception that the courageous are "fearless." The opposite is true. Courage is acting in the throes of fear.
Courage and Fear agree to meet in the backyard.
Courage cooly sips a lemonade.
Fear clenches a tall double scotch on the rocks, chews the straw, and mops his sweaty brow.
They discuss an upcoming event.
Fear squints his eyes and leans toward Courage, “Are you KIDDING me?! There’s no freakin’ way I’m doing this!”
Courage takes a deep breath and says, “We’re doing this.”
NAME your emotion.
CHOICES are available.
ACT on the best one.
Transcending Your Fear Using Courage and Boldness
Why Courage Requires Fear
#Emotionaliteracy #ArtandEmotons #Resilience #Courage #Anxiety