Our E4L story...
Emotions 4 Learning (E4L) is a social and emotional curriculum which supports children in their emotional development and wellbeing. We have been working on the introduction of this curriculum since September 2017 and have been delighted with the impact that this has had on our children’s learning and development over the years.
The E4L story began 11 years ago when St John's College School in Cambridge set out to create an emotional curriculum for the youngest children at St. John’s. The E4L curriculum is the result of this project. E4L aims to teach four to nine year old children about emotions, minds, communication and relationships so each child can learn to the best of their ability and grow up to be a happy, resilient and fulfilled young person. Most people now recognise that there is a very strong link between strong PSHE (personal, social, health and emotional) programmes in schools and attainment. We were lucky enough to have worked alongside St John's College School who have supported us in bringing this programme to Linton CE Infant School.
It’s important to note that E4L is not just another subject we teach the children, it is a way of being with the children and of course, with each other across the whole school community. E4L has over 280 lesson plans, 11 staff training workshops, a parent presentation and a parent workshop. There is even a training book!
The Primary Aim of E4L is……
To promote secure attachments between children and their teachers,
so children learn to manage their emotions and develop their minds….
so the children can be the best learners they can be.
In the E4L lessons we cover five key areas of social and emotional learning: Belonging, Feelings, Relationships, Myself and Problem Solving. The overall goal of the E4L lessons is to enable all our pupils to use their minds and become good problem solvers.
The reason E4L works so well is that it is not just a set of lesson plans, although they do form an important part of what we teach the children, it is the combined effect of these, along with The Core Processes and The Core Activities that make E4L such a powerful tool for teachers and children.
The Core Processes are the ways in which we train teachers to develop deep relationships with your children – to get to know them really well, and to model essential processes that children need to develop socially and emotionally. Strong attachments between teachers and children are central to the E4L way of being and our E4L curriculum is based in up-to-date research about how children’s brains and minds develop.
Problem-solving dialogue is the most powerful of the E4L core processes. We use dialogue in all our negotiations with children, to help them sort out a wide range of problems including friendship difficulties, frustrations with learning tasks, worries, disappointments, fears of new situations – even disagreements on the football pitch.
Child comment “Oh dear, are you feeling lonely? Look I’m on your safety circle would you like to come and play with me?”
When we dialogue with children we don’t give children the answers, we want them to do the thinking. We listen without judgment and we ask sensitive questions so children can explore their thoughts and feelings, identify their problem and work out a solution. And we validate children’s feelings and praise their thinking processes.
When we dialogue with children we actively teach them how to manage their emotions, use their minds and solve problems.
The Core Activities are ways in which we build some time to just be into the school day. We are very aware that children lead very busy lives these days and that with all the activities and the use of screens there is sometimes very little time for children to be being and not doing. For example, after lunchtime, as a school we practice Stillings which engages children’s unconscious minds. Stillings are relaxation and visualisation exercises that we use to encourage children to tune in to themselves and calm their bodies and minds. They also give children some of the quiet time and space they need for the unconscious processing of the day’s experiences.
Child comment “When my brain felt like the shaken glitter ball I can lie down and listen to quiet music then my brain settles like the glitter.”
Please read the following overview document for more information about how we teach our E4L programme.