EQ or emotional intelligence is the ability to identify and assess the emotions of one self and those around us, and the skill to exercise control over one’s emotion. Childhood is a crucial window of opportunity for shaping lifelong emotional and social competencies.
“A lot of times children misbehave because they are misunderstood,” said Denise Ang, Director of Nurture Kids. “We know that EQ can be taught,” she continues, adding that it’s all about brain patterning and teaching our brains to react to certain senses that we have.
The first of its kind in Singapore, Nurture Kids was started in November 2010 to fill the void of an establishment to help kids understand their social and emotional behaviours.
Why is there a need for EQ training
Ms Ang firmly believes that we cannot leave it to chance that all children can develop EQ by themselves. While some children figure it out naturally, many others need some help to identify and learn the skills to deal with their feelings.
Take anger as an example. Kids can be taught the relevant skills to navigate out of this negative feeling and replace it with more positive ones. What is commonly seen as misbehaviour may simply be a lack of skill to manage it.
Nurture Kids advocate that ALL children can benefit from some form of EQ training and parents should not wait till their child exhibit behavioural problems before seeking help. In light of this, Nurture Kids offer 3 supportive structures to the local parents – assessment, enrichment and intervention.
If you are curious about your child’s EQ development or interested to know what is your child’s strength or weakness, bring him/her down for an assessment. The child sits for a 30-minute test, in which he is measured against these 5 EQ competencies:
- Stress Management
- General Mood
A feedback session is then scheduled 1 to 2 weeks later. EQ assessment is available for children aged 7 and above, at $120 per child.
The centre also offers a range of enrichment programmes for the young ones. Ms Ang explains that EQ should be started as young as possible to lay down the brain connections during the early years. “We should strengthen them as much as we can and help the kids learn coping mechanisms.”
Nurture Kids offers 3 programs to help the children build upon a foundation of self and social awareness as well as management, and to be able to make responsible decisions or choices.
a. Little Seedling – for children as young as 3 – 4. The progamme coaches them in play skills and introduces them to basic problem solving and friendship skills through music and movement, stories, and free play.
b. Little Sprout – helps 5 – 6 year olds strengthen their emotional awareness and explore their self-conscious awareness. It also fosters the children’s perseverance, concentration and cooperation skills through stories (to develop their literacy skills), games and mini-projects.
For example, kids get to explore a particular emotion like fear by selecting materials to express and articulate that feeling. The goal is to help them be comfortable expressing themselves.
c. Little Tree – more for the lower primary (1 to 3), this program adopts the TFA model (think, feel, act) and challenges kids to have a little more thought process in handling conflicts such as bullying, saying no to wrongdoings. It develops children’s self-mastery, leadership and team skills and builds up their confidence in peer relationship building.
All 3 programmes above are adapted from the Incredible Years programme, although the Little Tree also has the addition six seconds model as well.
Class size is usually kept small – 12 per class with 2 coaches. The programs are carefully supervised by a group of hand-picked coaches who are former teachers experienced in handling children and well trained to impart social skills and emotion coaching. Students will receive a progress report at the end of the term.
3. Intervention programmes
Nurture Kids also provide consultation services. For example, if you have a child whose behaviour has not changed despite all your efforts, the centre offers Behaviour Management Consultation to help you understand your child’s behaviour and find solutions.
Typical disruptive behaviours at home or in school may include hitting, biting, temper tantrums, aggressive behaviours or withdrawal – refusal to go to school. Help parent do an assessment and find out the root cause of the behaviour plan
Children with special behaviour issues such as ADHD can get specialized help from the in-house psychologist who offers social skills training with a small group (2-3 kids) to help the children gain confidence and make friends.
Nurture Kids is located at Blk 211 Hougang St 21, #01-297 Singapore 530211. Call 6288 4823 or www.nurturekids.com.sg for more information.