In recent years, Health and Wellbeing has been a key focus for The Scottish Government, with this becoming one of three core curricular areas. This practitioner enquiry is focussed around the mental health aspect of this, encouraging children to discuss their emotions. Education Scotland (2020) encourage daily communication between children and parents about how they are feeling and state this should be supported within schools. Therefore, this enquiry is relevant to education today, as it provides children with a safe space to discuss their feelings.
Boxall (2002) states it is key to a child’s development that they have opportunities to express their ideas and communicate their thoughts and feelings, in turn increasing their emotional literacy and communication skills. Additionally, findings from Rae (2012) suggest developing emotional literacy in children encourages a motivation for learning, alongside creating positive relationships with adults and peers. This is supported by McCarthy and Park (1998) who suggest the emotional development and understanding of children is directly linked to their motivation to learn. Furthermore, a study by Casey (2012) found that children are more engaged with learning when they understand their emotions and have the ability to take responsibility for their own behaviour. By providing further opportunities for children to discuss their feelings in a safe environment, the impact of developing this emotional literacy, on children’s readiness to learn, can therefore be measured. This is the ultimate aim of this enquiry.
Furthermore, the Association for Children’s Mental Health (2018) state poor mental health can have a negative impact on a child’s social interactions and their ability to learn both within and out with the classroom. Campbell (2017) states for children to have success academically, they need to be supported in creating a positive mindset and developing skills to enable them to understand their mental wellbeing. In addition to this, Casey (2012) states the knowledge and skills children learn through their emotional literacy development are ones that enable them to resolve conflict, communicate effectively and make good choices. Therefore, it is incredibly important for children to be able to discuss their feelings and emotions in order to utilise these skills, both now and in the future.
The Scottish Government (2009) suggest one way children can become more confident in discussing their feelings, alongside developing a positive mindset, is through support from their peers. This enquiry provides children with opportunity to access this support, alongside developing their emotional literacy. From this, the impact on a child’s readiness to learn can be measured.
The aim of this enquiry was to explore the impact of emotion corners on children’s readiness to learn, within the setting of a P6 classroom. This was the primary focus of this enquiry, however, it was also used to;
- Encourage discussion around feelings and emotions, leading to dialogue around mental health and wellbeing within the Primary School setting.
- Provide children with practical and useful strategies for managing and controlling emotions they experience.