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Time to check in on your feelings

Goodstart centres

Embedding a strong culture of emotional well-being and a positive sense of identiy is the goal of educators at Goodstart Mona Vale.

Centre director Amy Meatchem said many different activities were used to help children understand their emotions, including role modelling interactions, guiding play and opportunities for self-regulation through dramatic play, literacy and creative arts.

 “We believe that children should be allowed time to process emotions and feel safe in knowing that their key educators are there to help them organise and acknowledge their differing feelings and emotions," Ms Meatchem said. "This happens through many various outlets such as sensory play, physical play and moments of solitude,” said Ms Meatchem.

She said while reading The Jar of Happiness by Alisa Burrows, and In my Heart by Jo Witek recently, the children were encouraged to talk about their feelings and to talk about what made them happy, sad or mad.

Following a lengthy discussion about ‘love’, the children completed a drawing activity to illustrate their feelings.

“We lead daily discussions around how we feel today using an interactive ‘feeling faces’ board. We love to use sensory processing opportunities to strengthen understanding too so things like stress balls and make your own mind up bottles were ways for the children to explore self-regulation.

"We also use books such as the When I’m Feeling… series by Trace Maloney to link conversations with actions through the day,” she said.
Make your own mind up bottles

Fill a bottle with water, sand and glitter, then turn over the bottle and shake up its contents to show what happens when a person gets stressed or upset. Once the glitter and sand are mixed, put the bottle up the right way and wait for the sand and glitter to settle.

Explain to the children that the wait represents the time it takes your brain to calm down enough so that you can make good choices.

This activity shows children why it is usually a good idea to stop and take a breath after an event that makes them mad, sad or annoyed
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