Emotional learning can happen at any time, but there are certain key moments that bring out the most of emotional education, giving kids the chance to express themselves.
One of the best moments to talk about emotions is at the beginning of the school day, when kids come into the classroom, we could ask them: how are you? would you like to tell me what you did yesterday? They don’t have to have the answer at all times, they just have to know that should they need it, you’d be there to listen. We could ask the same questions after recess as well, since conflict is usually caused during free play in playground time.
Assembly time is great for addressing emotions, picking a day to talk about how we feel. Setting routines like this one, helps kids to know that on this particular day they can talk about how they feel and why they feel this way.
A key moment to address emotions is when conflict arises, we can tackle situations like these and how kids feel in different ways, for example setting a Montessori “Peace Corner”. The kids involved in the conflict sit at the table and take turns to talk about what happened. We should try to speak in first person, avoiding to put the blame on others, hence resolving the conflict all together. Besides, it’s important the teacher isn’t a judge, but a mediator.
In addition, kids can work individually at the “Peace Corner”, if any of the kids feels bad or frustrated or needs to calm down, he/she can go to the table.
But truly, the best moment to address emotions is when kids need it: sometimes it’s best to put aside classroom tasks to help them out with the task they need.