As part of their Unit of Inquiry on Who We Are, the ELC Kindergarteners have been exploring how to recognize, manage and express our feelings.
Students have begun this inquiry by identifying their own emotions and brainstorming the language and vocabulary necessary to label and explain how they are feeling.
They have studied their own expressions in the mirror, observing the details in their facial expressions and body language.
Students were also learning to identify the emotions of others by paying attention to their own body signals.
As the class read and discussed many books on the topic, students talked about experiencing a variety of feelings. And no matter what feelings we experience, they are all OK. No matter if we are happy or sad, scared or brave, calm or angry, we can help each other express those emotions in a safe and healthy way.
As students were learning to express their feeling appropriately, they were practicing how to use “I feel …” statements, which is the beginning of an exploration of healthy conflict resolution.
Then, the students worked really hard on creating their own “Book of Feelings” using facial expressions, body language, and “I feel…” statements. When they were completed and brought home, parents were encouraged to discuss with their children when they might be feeling a certain way and share their own examples, and also to support them in building a rich vocabulary that will help them express how they are feeling in their home language.
The Kindergarten students also do a feelings check-in a few times a day, to stop for a minute, reflect on their own emotions and put their names under the corresponding picture. This activity has helped the students to be more at the moment and self-aware. It is also helpful for teachers to know who needs an extra listening ear or a helping hand.
Kindergarteners then went on to create a “Zen Zone” where they can visit when they feel strong emotions, and need some time to calm down or to just practice mindfulness that they have learned in their weekly Yoga class.