A Voice for Emotional Intelligence

Read more about the award in The New Haven Register, "Friends Center leader honored by Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence" by Brian Zahn.

On Monday, November 14, The Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence honored Allyx Schiavone, director of Friends Center for Children, with the Marvin Maurer Spotlight Award. The award is named after an educator, Marvin Maurer, who — seeking to energize learning in his social studies class  developed a Feeling Word Curriculum that has since become a key component in Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence’s RULER programs  The Marvin Maurer Spotlight award recognizes an educator who embodies Mr. Maurer’s belief in the importance of connecting personal experiences to academic material and exhibits outstanding teaching practices of emotional intelligence.

“Friends Center for Children is a real community where children, staff and parents have the same core values,” said Marc Brackett, Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence director. “The space radiates with warmth, trust and rigor: parents interacting with teachers, and children loving learning. It comes as no surprise that RULER — our center’s approach to social and emotional learning — has become part of the immune system of this amazing learning community. I couldn’t be prouder of Friends Center for Children.”

“I am thrilled to be receiving this award. It is especially poignant in light of the tumultuous time we find ourselves in as a result of a polarizing electoral season,” Allyx Schiavone said. “Never has the need for emotional intelligence been so evident. Recognizing, understanding, labeling, expressing and regulating our feelings has the power to help our community explore differences, find tolerance and eventually heal.”

At the luncheon celebration held at the New Haven Friends Meeting house, Allyx reflected on her personal inspirations for her work at Friends Center – naming and honoring her son and daughter, Penn and Josie, for inspiring her “to be better and do better.” She also shared the Quaker values (simplicity, peace, integrity, community, equality and stewardship) and Friends Center mission (educate children, empower families, inspire teachers, engage community, embrace diversity) that together motivate all aspects of the Friends Center program, including its sliding scale tuition implemented to ensure no socio-economic majority in the program; its parent COOP where families contribute to our program each week; its commitment to diversity and having no racial majority; its Adverse Childhood Experience program which addresses potentially traumatic events children experience that can have negative, lasting effects on a child’s health and well-being.

Allyx’s message enumerated the many reasons why emotional intelligence, specifically the RULER program from Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence.

“We use RULER because we see a definitive impact on cognitive and academic growth through the program… because we believe that social and emotional learning is a component of an ideal learning community… because we navigate a diverse population with varying belief systems and cultures… We use RULER to set the foundation to help us navigate our implicit biases… because we see the link between this self-awareness and tolerance…because we see the impact that poor attachment, poor socialization and poor self-regulation can have on a community in multiple ways.”

Allyx shared the personal privileges and challenges she has experienced in finding her voice, and, in Quaker tradition, ended her message with queries to inspire all of us to consider the power and impact of our own voice:

What is your inspiration?
What is your motivation?
What are your values?
What is your work?         

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Our Strongest Skills are Our "Softest Skills"

At the Friends Center for Children we place immeasurable value in the cultivation of a child's social and emotional development skills. We know that these seemingly basic skills are paramount when it comes to academic success and life. Too Small to Fail published a poignant piece last week that demonstrates the importance of emotional intelligence for children, starting at birth.

We feel strongly that our children are given the advantage to succeed in life when these social and emotional tools are taught and supported early in their development.

To read the entire post at Too Small to Fail, click here:
http://toosmall.org/Blog/our-soft-skills-may-be-most-important-skills-of-all

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Mood Board Makes Headlines

A photograph of a Friends Center for Children's mood board was recently featured in "Emotional Intelligence" Gains Traction -  a New Haven Independent article about the launch of Yale's new Center for Emotional Intelligence. The article explains that New Haven is considering bringing Yale center's work into the city system, prompted by the idea that "schools must focus on helping kids manage their emotions, and the social or home problems they bring with them into the classroom." 

At Friends Center for Children, mood boards such as the one shown above, are an integral part of our curriculum. The use of the mood meter allows the teachers, parents and children to engage in dialogue about the social and emotional development of individual children to ensure that children are supported and grounded throughout their early life experiences.  With this security children and teachers can focus more readily on cognitive skill development because the children feel safe, secure and confident.  As they learn to identify their moods and the feelings associated with them, they are better able to regulate their responses.  This regulation allows for appropriate social behavior when navigating daily stressors which in turn enhances the child's ability to function successfully within a social context. Overall, the time and attention given to mood, feelings, emotions at Friends Center allows us to focus on the development of the whole child. 

Read "'Emotional Intelligence' Gains Traction" in the New Haven Independent.

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