The heart of education, in a simple sense, refers to the emotional life of the child. The emotional well-being and development of each child is both the primary goal of early childhood education and the foundation of all learning. Children who feel good about themselves (self-esteem) and who can express and regulate emotion (emotional intelligence) show greater success in school over time.
Educators and parents who respond appropriately to children’s feelings foster greater emotional intelligence. This responsibility includes (1) understanding the emotional nature of children and of each child (2) building positive relationships with and among children (3) supporting children during emotionally challenging moments. Above all, educators and parents themselves have a responsibility to become emotionally intelligent so they can be emotionally available to the children in their care.