Five Key Takeaways from Emotional Intelligence Workshop

Bay Ridge Prep has partnered with the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence since 2011 to implement their integrated social/emotional intelligence approach called RULER. Studies show that children with greater emotional awareness have more satisfying relationships, better focus, healthier habits, increased creativity, and perform better on academic tasks. 

On October 11, Lower School Director Kate George hosted the first in a series of parent workshops to build stronger home-school connections across Grades K-5. October's workshop focused on how adults can best develop emotional intelligence in ourselves and children.

Kate shared the five key emotional intelligence skills that are taught and practiced at Bay Ridge Prep each day. 

1. Recognizing emotions in self and others
Often times we only recognize extreme emotions. The RULER approach teaches children to notice changes in their body before emotions become too extreme. Emotions can be evaluated by observing subtle changes in one’s facial expressions, breathing, and muscle contractions.

2. Understanding the cause and consequences of emotions
Try to identify emotional triggers. Simply asking yourself, “why do I feel this way?” can go a long way toward figuring out the cause of your emotion.

3. Labeling emotions accurately
If you ask any typical adult how they are feeling, the answer usually is “fine”. Even adults’ emotional vocabulary tends to be limited to “frustrated”, “happy”, and “sad”. Because of this, children can accurately name only few emotions. 

4. Expressing emotions appropriately
Try to be more clear about how you are actually feeling and what is making you feel that way. We commonly experience but rarely name: ‘content’, ‘eager’, ‘frustrated’, ‘comfortable’, etc. To build your own emotional vocabulary, you may also consider downloading the mood meter app, which is based on decades of research from Yale.

5. Regulating emotions effectively
We ask children to imagine their best self, how would their best self would respond to a particular emotion and what tools that can be helpful in regulating emotions. Sometimes you can distract yourself, confront yourself, use positive self-talk or change your breathing. These and other strategies can help affect your emotion. 

By using tools such as a classroom charter, mood meter, meta-moment, and conflict blueprint, Bay Ridge Prep teachers help children to recognize their emotions and the emotions of others. This leads to understanding the causes and consequences of emotions, labeling and expressing these emotions effectively and regulating them to create more compassionate and confident citizens.   

Founded in 1998, Bay Ridge Prep is an independent, K-12 college preparatory school offering exceptional courses and intimate class sizes in a socially-mature and positive environment.