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Cultivating emotional intelligence

Online since 18.01.2018 • Filed under Education • From Sixteen - January to March 2018 page(s) 72
Cultivating emotional intelligence

Years one to four, the foundation phase of school, are the most critical for cementing the long-term potential of children and enabling them to become successful adults.

‘While academic excellence is important, developing children’s emotional intelligence may make the difference between success and failure in their lives,’ says Chris Van Niekerk, head at Founders Hill College, part of Africa’s largest private education provider, ADvTECH. He adds that when investigating schooling options, parents and guardians should consider more than the academic or sporting achievements and track record of a school, and enquire about a school’s approach to instilling vital life skills. ‘Nurturing emotional intelligence should be considered as important as teaching children to read, write and do arithmetic; and schools, parents and communities must ensure this fundamental life skill is not forgotten,’ he notes. ‘It’s in years one to four that children learn to love learning, learn about a world that challenges and rewards, and learn what makes them who they are: unique human beings who hold a wealth of potential and who can do anything they put their hearts and minds to. It is during these years that these skills become part of the child’s character and personality – guiding their decisions, helping them make sense of the world, and being the foundation of their relationships with others. Starting with five-year-olds is the best place to start.’ Emotional intelligence is a set of softer skills that help children grow up to become ‘likeable’, successful human beings who can accept that not everybody in the world is going to be like you, agree with you or think like you. More than this, it’s understanding that this diversity is not only good and desirable, but to be celebrated and embraced. ‘It’s learning how to give and take: to compromise and to negotiate, to relate to others – to empathise and communicate your own feelings. It’s learning to listen to what other people say, and how to speak your own mind. It’s acquiring the skills and the confidence to articulate your feelings and ideas, and it’s learning to identify exactly what makes you respond the way you do to people and situations. Critically, it’s learning how to manage those feelings, instead of letting them manage you.’ Chris adds that emotional intelligence skills aren’t taught in lesson slots on the timetable. They should form part of all interactions, whether they be during academic, social or physical activities. Additionally, provision should be made to assist children who show signs of needing early intervention to reach emotional intelligence milestones. ‘Success is not only measured academically and professionally. It is measured by the quality of our relationships, and by our ability to lead meaningful, effective lives,’ he says.

 

For more information, visit www.advtech.co.za.

Sixteen - January to March 2018

Sixteen - January to March 2018

This article was featured on page 72 of Babys and Beyond Sixteen - January to March 2018 .

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