What is Emotional Literacy?

Introduction to Emotional Literacy, Emotional Intelligence and Self Esteem

After many years of emphasis on the cognitive and physical aspects of
childhood development, recently more attention has been focused on the
social and emotional developmental cycles of children. The impact of a
child's relative emotional maturity or immaturity on their behaviour,
performance and personal happiness is finally being recognised.
Furthermore, the issue of mental (emotional) health has been acknowledged
as part of schemes such as The Healthy Schools Initiative.

Against a background of increasing social exclusion, a worrying trend in
diminishing self esteem in teenage boys, and increasing numbers of children
being recognised as having 'additional learning needs' or presenting
challenging behaviour, there is a growing pressure to find solutions. A
child's capacity to learn and grow depends to a very significant extent on
their ability to manage personal and social tasks. Without the ability to
be aware of their emotional states and self-management skills to contain
and handle these, their work will suffer. Without the ability to be aware
of others and what they are feeling and to practise relationship management
skills, their friendships and social support will vanish.

There has also been a steady rise in recognition of the importance of sound
self esteem for children. This recognition has emerged through
psychological studies into the aetiology of behaviour disorders, learning
difficulties and other disturbances to the steady development and
maturation of children. This has coincided with research into human
Emotional Intelligence and the development of emotional literacy training
programmes. Emotional Intelligence is now known to play a very significant
part in achieving goals set, as well as being the foundation for personal

Many gifted educators and child-care workers have already developed
excellent emotional literacy programmes to support and develop children at
every level of need. These enable children to learn the skills and
abilities to give them greater emotional awareness, more emotional control
and strong relationship building skills. This in turn leads to higher
emotional intelligence, and usually, sound self esteem.