Emotional Literacy Is Improved With Outdoor Play

Emotional Literacy Is Improved With Outdoor Play

Previously, we’ve spoken about Dandelion and how its outdoor environment helps their children to grow and develop.

Part of their success has been the emotional literacy development they’ve seen. Emotional literacy is the ability to understand and express feelings.

During the younger years, this is a skill to learn like any other, as children not only need to learn about their feelings, but also how they can manage and control negative emotions.

At Dandelions, staff encourage children to explore their emotions and respect the feelings of others. Their use of emotion fans, celebrations with positive emotions, and encouraging changes with negative emotions are three tools they use to help develop the emotional literacy of their children.

In other settings, other techniques are used.

Keeping Calm

The importance of emotional literacy development is demonstrated by its impact on learning ability later in life. Studies have shown that those who can stay calm are better learners.

Daniel Goleman has stated that the brain’s centre for learning works best when people are focused and calm.

When upset or in an extremely agitated state, the only focus is on what has upset us. Learning at this point is not going to happen.

Emotional literacy is the training of children to remain calm when they’ve been upset and refocus on their learning.

Musical Therapy

music-notes-2073069_1920One of the ways to encourage a focus on emotion is to use music as a tool. Music is important in the early years as it can help children develop their language skills, creativity, physical skills and their personal and social skills.

There are several ways you can use your outdoor space with music. For one, you could listen to the garden sounds and ask the children to mimic them. Or you could start an outdoor band.

An area in your outside space could be dedicated to music. At set times during the day, you could also have music time. You’ll be amazed at how many children will flock to the staff member running this activity.

Do you use music in your early years setting? What are your musical tips?

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