Mental health issues in the classroom are hitting the headlines once again. Citing an Office of National Statistics study of 7,000 children, Mr Javed Khan, Barnardo’s chief executive, warned it had become a wider issue affecting children of all classes and backgrounds. "Three children in every classroom are thought to have a diagnosable mental health problem, which is approaching epidemic proportions," he said*.
But what can we do about this issue? Start by growing smart hearts, through EQ, or Emotional Intelligence, to make sure it is becoming as important as IQ in today’s classrooms. Why? A child who can understand and handle their emotions and empathise with others have the key components for their future life success. Couple this with issues like social media addiction, anti-social behaviour, and cyberbullying, you’d be surprised that more is not being done to help today’s children navigate our continuously evolving, and challenging world. But this is now changing.
“With three children in every class experiencing mental health issues we need engage in emotional intelligence earlier” says Paulina Olsson, CEO of Peppy Pals. “Practicing EQ at an early age has almost magical effects and studies show that embracing EQ in education results in less bullying and harassment in school, as well as increasing students’ academic results by on average 11 percentile points. In addition, EQ takes high priority as one of the most requested abilities in the future labour market.”
Study after study has proven the relationship between emotional intelligence and bullying. “EQ is where the environmental issue was a decade ago. The research is in, and it’s undisputed; EQ is crucial for the long-term mental health and success of our children. As a society, we’re all responsible for the wellbeing of future generations and now is the time to act,” says Olsson.
As of last year, LEGO Ventures is backing the Swedish pioneer Peppy Pals, recognising that EQ is vital for children. Peppy Pal’s mission is for education to go beyond ABC and 123, and create a future generation with more empathic leaders.Their new nursery and primary school online education platform supports children’s lifelong social and emotional learning.
Peppy Pals use their research-based approach to nurturing and teaching children ages 2-9 about EQ through storytelling and humour. The Swedish company has its origins in creating award-winning, non-language apps and e-books that have been loved by families across 150 countries. Their new educational EQ platform for Early Years and primary classrooms uses animal characters to teach children about empathy, emotions, cooperation, problem-solving, conflict management and friendship. The digital platform is launched in the UK from 12th March 2019.