Best Practice

Teaching emotional literacy in reception year

The reception year comes in the middle of two key transition points when anxiety and other emotions can threaten to overwhelm some children. Neil Henty discusses the importance of promoting emotional literacy in the reception year

All children need to feel supported and nurtured. When their needs are met, they are more likely to thrive. One of the most powerful ways of supporting children is to help them to develop their emotional intelligence and emotional literacy.

Having the ability to articulate feelings and emotions forms an important foundation of how pupils will develop as they get older.

What is emotional literacy?

The term emotional intelligence was popularised in the 1990s by American psychologist Daniel Goleman. His work was based on the work of Peter Salovey and John D Mayer (Mukadam, 2021).

Emotional intelligence and emotional literacy are often used interchangeably. However, there is a subtle but important difference. While both can refer to the ability to recognise, understand, handle and appropriately express emotions:

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