Educating the Heart is just as important as educating the mind.
The full Heart Matters programme is a heart -centred social and emotional learning programme, focusing on promoting positive behaviour and reducing anti-social behaviour.
This is coupled to a few complex emotions within those “feeling families,” e.g. frustrated, disappointed, excited, proud, lonely.
Through our fun games and activities, the children gain tools to self-manage, make appropriate choices, build healthy relationships and build resilience. We work with the parents through guidance letters to provide an understanding of the work and terminology we cover to assist you in applying for the programme at home and school.
We learn how to identify the feelings focusing on the physiological aspects such as Sadness – your body feels heavy, tears might come, you don’t want to laugh or play. We look at words to describe these emotions and ways to say how we are feeling and then most importantly, what do we do and how do we react to this feeling? This is the control aspect of the program.
We focus on three “body aspects”, our brain, our heart and our senses, and how they work together to as a team and assist us in making decisions, both good and bad with our emotions.
We start the year with a focus on self-awareness and how we fit into this big world around us. Our uniqueness and we create an environment where your child feels valued and that their voice is heard and is important.
Just like children need to learn the alphabet before they can read and write, they need to learn an emotional vocabulary before we can expect them to start expressing themselves. Accordingly, we teach them an emotional vocabulary that can then lead to statements such as; “I feel sad because James doesn’t want to play my game”. These statements then lead to actions which are moving the emotion to something constructive. These are the foundational building blocks of emotional development.
We then learn about personal space, borders and boundaries. As an example, we discuss: “how do we feel when other people don’t respect our borders and boundaries when I say stop, and the person carries on when someone takes my things without asking?” We learn how we feel and how to control uncomfortable emotions. We concentrate and reinforce the different emotions throughout the year. We include role play, stories, games and lots of tactile activities and visuals to assist in making these abstract concepts understandable.
Emphasis is placed on how each emotion is important, even the uncomfortable ones. Our goal is to give your child the tools (coping skills) to be able to self-regulate their emotions in moments of elevated emotions, and not end up with unacceptable behaviour.
Much focus is placed on specific “terminology” which you will be given at the parent meeting we invite you too. As parents have the greatest effect on a child’s emotional growth, your encouragement and engagement to support and carry through the programme at home are vital. Some examples of the words and concepts the children learn and will fully understand are; compromise, empathy, consequences, conflict, angry rules, body borders, comfortable, uncomfortable, personal space, friendship, coping skills, trust, honesty and how words affect our Heart. We support and encourage conscious parenting and will guide parents through the programme with parent letters.