Using emotional vocabulary during the school day

During the school day children may be asked to experience situations that adults may not feel comfortable experiencing, such as being vulnerable and sharing things about themselves which adults may find difficult to do. For example, asking a child to identify things they struggle with or find difficult. In class an adult may randomly choose a child to answer a question, thereby exposing them in a way we would be uncomfortable as adults. How many of us have attended training where we would feel uncomfortable if the facilitator randomly singled us out to participate?

Reflect: Would this feel comfortable?

•         What do we ask children to do?

•         How may it feel for them?

•         How would I feel if someone asked me to do this?

•         How can we change this to make it feel easier and less intimidating for children?

There are many opportunities during the school day to introduce and familiarize children with emotional vocabulary. It is essential to use this as often as possible so it becomes a recognized way of interacting and avoids children being asked to do something without naming and explaining it. For example, if a child hits another child and is asked why they behaved in this way, it is not realistic to expect them to explain if they are not provided with the appropriate vocabulary to be able to do this. The school staff ensuring they use regular opportunities to introduce emotional vocabulary to children can assist them with this.

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