Room for emotions

28th May 2004 at 01:00
We invented our "feelings wall" because many of the children in our reception classes were finding it difficult to express how they felt, which often led to them, and sometimes the adults, feeling frustrated and misunderstood. We have regular circle-time discussions about emotions, but lots of our children are learning English as an additional language and many have speech and language difficulties.

Small laminated cards with simple drawings of faces representing a range of emotions are stuck on the wall with Velcro. Hanging on hooks next to the pictures are "feelings necklaces" made from circular pieces of laminated card and ribbon. The necklaces have a medallion with a piece of Velcro on it, and children can select a feeling from the wall and attach it to their necklace.

Each feeling is then talked about and revisited in circle time. We discuss how to help others who are feeling sad or angry. Everyone is encouraged to ask each other about how they feel and why.

The idea has been a great success. All the children regularly use the necklaces and are more interested in other people's feelings. Most are now confident in using vocabulary related to emotions, but still return to the feelings wall for their necklace. When I recently told them how pleased I was with how they were learning, a very quiet child silently presented me with a necklace showing a happy face!

Lisa Francis Foundation stage co-ordinator, Bond Primary School, Merton

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