Introducing our unique Emotions for Learning curriculum
Our unique Emotions for Learning (E4L) curriculum, developed at St John’s College School, underpins everything we do. Designed to meet the emotional and social needs of our youngest children, the approach supports their mental health development and equips them with emotional literacy.
E4L is not just another subject we teach but a way of being in the St John’s College School community. Our staff, parents and Governors are all offered training in the E4L curriculum principles and delivery. We teach our teachers to consciously form strong connections with the children, as it is through relationships that children first find the security and ability to regulate.
Through E4L children learn how to connect to the people, places and things that matter. These connections instil a feeling of security which allows them to take risks, explore the world around them and develop confidence in their own abilities.
Why we believe in the Emotions for Learning curriculum
E4L helps children to better understand and identify their emotions; develop empathy, increase emotional regulation and manage stress. At St John’s we believe that when we invest in our children’s well-being, encourage their creativity, and instil in them community values, we will raise emotionally literate and well-rounded individuals who then go on to excel academically, in life and work thereafter.
How we implement the Emotions for Learning curriculum
Action Story: Peer to peer massage promotes safe, nurturing touch between children. The process teaches them about their body self, as well as encouraging them to become increasingly sensitive to the body self of others. Following an Action Story, the classroom calms, concentration and motivation improve and, as a result, children learn more effectively.
Listening with Heart: By tuning in to ourselves, and the body language and thoughts and feelings of the person we are listening to, we can create a safe, calm space in which to practise the art of deep listening. When children learn to listen, they develop better relationships and become independent problem solvers.
Stilling: Children regularly take time for ‘Stilling’ - guided visualisations to encourage children to tune in to themselves in a safe and relaxing space. They give children the quiet time and space they need for the unconscious processing of the day’s experiences.
Dialoguing: Through dialogue teachers lead children through a process of ‘connect, explore, act’ to help them to problem solve for themselves rather than having teachers give answers. We connect first so that children know we understand what they are feeling and going through; we ask open questions to help them explore the underlying reasons for the problem; and we help them form their own plan for how to change the situation and restore things where needed.
Complimenting: Children learn about themselves in the first instance when others tune in to them and feedback what they see. Throughout the school day, our teachers spontaneously model complimenting by mirroring aspects of children’s behaviour and personal characteristics. The regular use of compliments encourages children to take in a positive image of themselves and appreciate the good in others. It also creates an atmosphere of mutual care and generosity in the school community.
E4L training for parents: Multiple times a year parents are invited to attend E4L training to learn about the E4L curriculum, and gain an understanding of the practices and terminology. Parents are also able to participate and watch E4L lessons in their child’s class.
The impact of the Emotions for Learning curriculum on children at St John’s
Our E4L curriculum provides children with the environment in which they can:
- Form great relationships with peers and adults
- Develop an understanding of problem solving independently
- Adopt a sense of agency and confidence
- Embody a lifelong curiosity and intrinsic motivation to learn
- Build self-awareness and self-understanding
- Thrive academically and perform better in the workplace
- Establish strong emotional foundations - the building blocks for well-being and success later in life.
Teachers and educators can’t change the circumstances that children face beyond their classrooms and schools, but by embracing E4L, we can help them discover new beliefs about who they are and the greatness of which they’re capable.
What St John’s children think about our Emotions for Learning curriculum
“If we have a ‘big’ feeling E4L helps us know what to do; we take a deep breath, say the feeling and then we think about how we feel.”
“Stilling is a time to relax, focus your mind and help your body and brain to calm before the next part of the day. We listen to calming music and lie in our own spaces to listen to the stilling story.”
“My class love action stories massages. We often start with ‘eye glasses’ which means drawing circles on my partner’s back. It is so relaxing.”