By: Rebecca Amis
Early Childhood Education schools (ECE; kids age 2.5-5) have long served a crucial function within society — providing children a nurturing setting where they can socialize, learn, and develop fundamental life skills. And while many of us recognize the value behind children’s learning basic academic lessons and socialization techniques, the emotional development that children can undergo from receiving quality ECE is surely of equal importance.
Aside from the academic takeaways, kids who receive nurturing ECE experiences can build self-confidence, can become less susceptible to being bullied or becoming bullies themselves, and can learn effective conflict management strategies — all of which contribute to the development of social intelligence. One definition of emotional intelligence is having the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships with empathy. These are critical lessons that can have a positive impact on the child’s mental well-being and long-term health, and here at MUSE school, we believe that today’s complicated world demands an ECE approach that focuses on developing children’s emotional intelligence in tandem with building their academic foundation.
To the point, helping children learn emotional intelligence was a driving force behind why I started MUSE over 13 years ago with my sister, Suzy Amis Cameron, and my brother-in-law, director James Cameron — as parents, we desired an alternate approach to ECE, one that is founded on teaching principles of self-efficacy, sustainability and environmental stewardship, and a lifelong love for learning.
The Evolving Role of Early Childhood Education
Since starting MUSE over a decade ago, I’ve been fascinated to observe the evolution of ECE and how ECE shapes and impacts the lives of children. According to a study conducted by the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard, ECE is a critical part of a broader framework for achieving sound health and emotional development across a person’s lifetime. ECE is an opportunity for children to learn how to manage thoughts, feelings, and emotions in a productive fashion that allows them to confidently interact with peers as well as adults. It is a time for them to understand that kindness and compassion are important qualities that should inform our daily interactions and behaviors.
At the MUSE ECE school, we have taken on the mission of instilling emotional intelligence into our students as a cornerstone of our educational philosophy — and consistently review our methods and techniques to ensure that we are utilizing the most effective teaching systems to the greatest impact for our students.
Social Intelligence and Bullying
Learning social intelligence and empathy in ECE can be an important factor in reducing instances of bullying among children and teens. And with studies indicating that approximately 49% of students in grades 4-12 experience a form of bullying each month, it is important to take a proactive approach to stop this pervasive issue. And while formalized bullying doesn’t typically occur at the pre-k level, preschoolers certainly act out toward one another — but that behavior isn’t usually premeditated and targeted.
As ECE educators, we have a tremendous opportunity to help children learn healthy and productive social interaction techniques that become second nature — and that can help prevent bullying from manifesting downstream.This is crucial because the outcomes of bullying have proven devastating. Anxiety, depression, and social isolation are just some of the consequences associated with bullying — and while the entire topic of bullying can be uncomfortable and challenging to address for students, parents, and teachers, communication is the key.
Talking It Out
At MUSE School, we believe that learning productive communication techniques is a cornerstone for building social intelligence and mental resilience. Communication skills are taught to students through an innovative system known as the Process Communication Model (PCM). PCM is a proprietary communication system developed by Dr.Taibi Kahler which all teachers at MUSE are certified to teach. PCM utilizes behavioral and observational approaches to help students achieve productive communication styles and learn conflict management.
This model prepares students to become confident communicators both inside and outside the classroom, according to MUSE ECE parent Chrissy Bullard: “In the early childhood program at MUSE children are more aware of communication with themselves and others. The program helps them to establish a sense of security within themselves and helps them to be more confident when speaking to people.”
By empowering our students with tools like PCM we are equipping them with the skills and awareness to become emotionally intelligent communicators who can engage confidently and kindly with others in social settings.
A Lifetime of Impact
Ultimately, we stress the development of emotional intelligence in our ECE program at MUSE because it’s a skill with timeless and significant value. Social intelligence is future-proof and incapable of obsolescence, and possessing it helps children approach their daily interactions from a perspective of kindness and inclusion. It’s something we take great pride in teaching.
As ECE needs continues evolving, we at MUSE are thrilled to be on the forefront of an innovative and adaptive learning model that is capable of educating children in mind and in spirit.
To learn more about MUSE Schools (in addition to ECE, we also instruct grades 1-12), our special programs, and our education philosophy, please visit our MUSE School website. To find out how to bring MUSE to your community, please visit our franchise opportunities page.