Building a Foundation Around Emotional Intelligence

Daniel Goleman coined the phrase “emotional Intelligence” in 1995 with his groundbreaking book Emotional Intelligence – Why It Can Matter More than IQ. Twenty three years later there is an urgency to explore this concept in practical, applicable ways.

Emotional intelligence is basically one’s awareness of self, others and the environment coupled with choices made in response to life experience within those relationships. The concepts of emotional intelligence are simple. The application is more challenging. It requires the regular, repetitive, patterned practice of specific behavioral skills that develop the necessary emotional and social skills that shape emotional intelligence. This is what we strive to provide for our students and families at SAA.

Beginning in morning chapel, where we teach, demonstrate and model honesty, compassion, kindness, thoughtfulness, perseverance, self-regulation, manners and more sets the daily tone for desired outcomes. Combined with a reassuring message, “I know you can do this,” each of these lessons is carried into the classroom and daily activities.

At the developmental ages of Pre-K through 8th grade, our goal is to build a foundation that encourages and provides opportunities for the development of delayed gratification, empathy, sharing, the purpose of and the vocabulary for emotions, identifying problems and then guiding boys through a process for solving problems. For example, in order to learn what perseverance means to us, individually, and to build confidence that leads to motivation, we must make mistakes from which we learn consequences. This is a challenge for both children and adults. Another example is patterned practice, where we teach the practical importance of falling down and getting up over and over again until a skill has been mastered.

In the past 30 years, much of our research literature has focused on the development of successful relationships. As a result, thousands of books have been published discussing developmental milestones and skills for preparing our children to become successful adults. The corporate world has also taken notice and embraced many programs that assess and train the skills necessary for successful business relationships and increased productivity. Steven Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People is an example of this.  More recently, Kristin Anne Dudley’s article Lead with Emotional Intelligence: 6 Ways of Doug Pederson, Head Coach of the Philadelphia Eagles highlights these same concepts through the lens of coaching as ‘the core of successful relationships that lead to being winners.’


Theresa Moore, LCSW, LPC / School Counselor 
  • kindness
  • manners
  • wellness

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