Previous research shows that young children have a greater difficulty understanding mental states than emotional states. This project arises to provide primary teachers and educators a program to improve children's socio-emotional skills. The partnership is expected to achieve the design of an intervention program pilot through the combination of two complementary techniques: Philosophy for Children and Mindfulness. This partnership will generate an educational program and some advance on relevant theoretical questions. The project expected to benefit children, teachers and researchers interested on child development. The donor partner, University of Oslo, will contribute its expertise and many years of experience in advising the creation of a new structured and more effective program to enhance emotional comprehension, emotional regulation and social competence of children. The project promoter, University of Valencia, will contribute with its expertise in emotional and mentalist abilities of children with special characteristics.
Summary of project results
The main aim of the project was to design and pilot an intervention program to improve socio-emotional skills in primary school children. The main novelty we provide is the combination of two complementary techniques: Philosophy for Children and Mindfulness. Through the use of these techniques partners expect children to develop meaningful, lasting and generalizable knowledge to other contexts. This knowledge will improve the management of their emotional states and social relations impacting their psychological wellbeing. Partners have finished the design of the intervention programme. The programme will be published in Spanish in 2016. By its publication teachers of Primary education could start the implementation with children. The programme works on emotion knowledge, social competence and emotion regulation through explicit reflexion among peers and mindfulness techniques. Three different programmes have been designed for specific ages (6-7, 8-9 and 10-11). Each programme presents the same contents adapted to the ages of the children. Thus, even if contents are similar, the way they are presented and the connexions with other areas of the social and emotional world makes them more and more complex. These are the specific areas the programme covers: 1. What are emotions for? These activities provoke reflexion on the sense and the utility of emotions. They also introduce some developmental disorders where emotions are impaired. 2. Linguistic labels. Though these activities we pretend children to improve the use and knowledge of linguistic labels associated to emotional states and feelings. 3. Mental components of basic emotions. To be emotionally competent, Primary school children need to understand the role of mental states in emotions. 4. Social emotions. Social emotions require the evaluation of another person and reflect social norms. 5. Emotion regulation. This is an essential part of the programme and we have designed a huge amount of activities to help children to interiorize regulation strategies. 6. Emotions and learning. Mindfulness strategies together with explicit knowledge have proved to be highly effective. 7. Empathy and social competence. Empathy is one of the fundamental components of social competence and prosocial behaviour. 8. A final word on friendship. We pretend children to become aware of the special nature of these relationships and their value for development through the life span.
Summary of bilateral results
Besides the intervention programme, partners have also written two papers: Giménez-Dasí, M., Arias, L. & Pons, F. (en prensa). Pensando las emociones con atención plena. Un programa de intervención para niños de Educación Primaria. Madrid: Pirámide. This publication has already been accepted and will appear in 2016. And, second, Pons, F., Giménez-Dasí, M., Sala, M., Molina, P., Tornare, E. & Andersen, B. (2015). Compréhension et régulation des émotions à l’école. En M. Crahay y M. Dutrévis (Eds.), Psychologie des apprentissages scolaires. (pp.115-142). Louvain-la-Neuve: De Boeck Supérieur. This chapter has been published in October 2015. Partners will continue working on the same topic. Their aim is to implement the programme and to test its validity and efficacy both in short term and long term conditions. If results are good, they have also planned to translate the programme into Norwegian for publication.