Circle-time deals with emotions

2nd February 2001 at 00:00
Mike Kent (Friday, January 12) is right - many teachers do seem afraid to discipline children. He should be wary, however, of throwing the baby out with the bath water in his rejection of circle-time. Properly run circle-time sessions are not about "airing grievances", they are about teaching children how to manage their emotions.

There is a link between how we feel, how we think and how we behave, and as child psychologist Haim Ginott once stated: "If kids feel right then they'll behave right."

As Mike Kent says, primary schools should provide secure boundaries so that children feel safe, and teachers sould feel confident about letting children know what's acceptable and what isn't. When that sort of environment is reflected in the world outside the primary school, everything's fine.

But the world has changed; jobs are no longer for life, and management gurus tell us that the employees of tomorrow must have "emotional intelligence".

Yes, it's essential to have firm discipline, but this is no longer enough. We have to dip our toes in the murky waters of "feelings", something we Brits are not too comfortable with. Circle-time provides an excellent means of doing that.

Mark Edwards Bedford

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