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Teaching Emotional Intelligence:

Increasingly, some experts are concluing that emotional intelligence can be just as important as IQ to predicting a happy and successful life. Now, a new kit has been developed called “Flower Feelings” to help teach pre-school and elementary school children the language of Emotional Intelligence.

The new kit has been developed by Corpus Christi elementary school teacher and Santa Monica native Cynthia Ogle and parent, Lisa Gilford because social/emotional skill-building is not being addressed in school curriculums like it should be. Ogle explained to the Mirror that children who come to school hungry cannot learn effectively and the same is true for children with emotional issues.Â

The kit contains eight sunflowers which are made out of the same material as washable stuffed animals. Each flower contains specific colors to help reflect the emotion it is supposed to represent, a face on its front to represent the emotion, and the name of the emotion spelled out on its back. Also part of the kit is a colorful book that includes a discussion of each of the eight emotions and how to deal with them, a CD with a theme song about emotions, a set of eight activity/flash cards, and a carrying case. So far, the eight emotions in the kit are proud, angry, love, jealous, sad, afraid, happy, and shy, and more are in the process of being created.Â

The kit has been available since September 2009 and is already being used at the New Roads School in Santa Monica, the Los Angeles Unified School District’s Head Start program, the Chicago public schools early childhood education program, and public schools in New York City and is under consideration for use in the Minneapolis Head Start program.

Gilford noted that “up to now teachers stayed away from emotional education but now because more children on the autistic spectrum are being mainstreamed there is more of a need to have a language to talk about what’s going on in the classroom.” There is also a need according to Ogle because “more students are coming to school less emotionally literate than before due to the increased use of technology.” The kit can help teachers make emotional issues teachable moments throughout the day by having them lying around in their classroom. Ogle recounted how a first grader carried around the angry flower all day and when his teacher asked him about it he explained that he had just had a fight with his dad.

Both Ogle and Gilford stressed that by having the kit at home parents will be able to improve their children’s emotional education.

Ogle said that the hardest part of creating the kit was designing the flowers. The most difficult emotion to create a flower for was jealousy because there are so many aspects to it. She also noted that the kit helps with the “need for us to become a less suppressed society.”


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