Supporting Children’s Well-Being
All children and young people have their ups and downs and experience all kinds of thoughts and feelings as they grow up.
There are many different kinds of problems and worries that get in the way of children and young people growing with enjoyment, happiness and confidence; this is what we mean by emotional well-being.
Problems vary in how serious they can be. For some children and young people the problems may pass quickly, for others their everyday lives are greatly affected and they may need extra help over and above what can ordinarily be provided by their families, relatives and friends.
Our staff have been trained in ‘Emotion Coaching’ and apply the strategies suggested by this approach to support children’s well-being.
What is Emotion Coaching?
Emotion Coaching is a relational style of communicating with children originating in the work of Dr John Gottman, a Clinical Psychologist and researcher. Essentially Emotion Coaching helps children and young people to understand and identify the different emotions they experience, to learn the connection between feelings and behaviour and how to manage challenging feelings, when they arise.
Emotion Coaching is a relational approach (vs behavioural) to thinking about children’s communication, where behaviour is seen as a communication of the child’s thoughts and feelings. The capability to read and understand children’s feelings depends on a level of self-awareness and emotional literacy in the adults around them. The science of Emotion Coaching emerges out of Attachment Theory and neuroscience which have demonstrated how the brain is a social organ that is co-created in warm and reciprocal relationships with caring others. Although the first three years of a child’s life is key and a period of rapid growth and development in all areas, childhood provides ongoing opportunities for parents, family members and professionals to continue to support the child’s emotional development that also scaffolds physical, intellectual and social growth.
Key Principles of Emotion Coaching Model
- Connect and view emotion as an opportunity for intimacy and learning.
- Accept –communicate your understanding and acceptance of the emotion.
- Reflect – use age appropriate words to describe the feelings. ‘Name it to tame It’.
- End Stage –if necessary –help children to solve problems. All feelings are acceptable but not all behaviours.
What Children Learn
- To empathise with others
- To read others feeling states and social cues
- To control impulses
- To delay gratification
- To motivate themselves
- To make mistakes and learn from them
- To build resilience and skills for future challenges
What Children Gain
Mastering the ability to regulate emotions, enables improved executive function and helps children succeed in a myriad of ways:
- Learning and attainment
- Social relationships
- Physical and mental health
- We all have all feelings –feelings are normal and healthy
- We are not alone, we are accepted, supported, cared about, valid
- We are empowered by empathic response and learn from problem solving
- All feelings are normal but children need support to co-regulate and to express feelings constructively.
At Oakridge, we offer a ‘Listening Ear’ as one aspect of our emotional wellbeing service which supports children, young people and their families. A child or young person may need someone to talk to about emotional, behavioural, social difficulties or need some advice. Our ‘Listening Ear’ is aiming to provide this support.
Who provides this support?
At our school there is a team who support children and young people, that include our Mental Health Lead and SENDCo, Mrs Evans, our Headteacher and Deputy Headteacher, TAs and class teachers. Where it is necessary, in consultation with families, referrals will be made for external support.
How does a young person access a ‘Listening Ear’?
Children can also make a self-referral using our 'Listening Ear' (children make a note of any issues they are experiencing and staff can then make arrangements to meet with the child). This process is shared during the initial week in school in September by the child’s new class teacher. Alternatively, a parent can contact the Head Teacher, Deputy Headteacher, SENCO or Class Teacher with concerns, who will then co-ordinate the most appropriate person or service to help.
Will meetings be in private?
Meetings with children, young people and families always take place in a private room. Notes may be taken during the meeting and these are securely filed.
Information about the sessions will not be shared with other people without the parent/carer or young person’s permission.
All information relating to support sessions are protected and treated with the greatest respect. As this is a school service, the Head Teacher and Class Teacher are normally consulted for further information relating to the child/young person’s difficulties, unless permission is refused for this contact.
At times, and in exceptional circumstances, it may be necessary for certain information to be shared with other agencies, for example, if there are child safety or safeguarding concerns.
Other useful information can be found at: