We do a lot of emotional work in our school.  “But how do you find the time to do this?” people might ask.  “Doesn’t it interfere with the curriculum?”  These are valid questions and the answers are counterintuitive.  Putting in the time to dive into emotional issues actually makes children more productive and saves time.  Children – just like adults – carry around emotions in their bodies.  You can actually feel tired and worn down from holding in feelings.  Think of how hard it is to hold a beach ball under water.  That’s what it’s like when you are hiding fear, anxiety, anger, loneliness inside yourself.  Sharing those feelings makes them dissolve and you can function much better when you feel safe and relaxed.   Here is a blog our K/1 teacher Angelina just sent to parents at the end of a hectic day:

Hello Parents,
I’m sure by now you’ve all been informed about what K-1class has called a “HORRIBLE terrible day”.  
It wasn’t our best day but certainly not that bad. Here is what happened and why today was really important! 
Our day went south when everyone started interrupting each other. The interruptions turned into ignoring, feeling frustrated, not feeling respected, and then just feeling completely invisible. 
What puzzled us was that even though we moved on with our day our feelings remained the same. How could something that happened 20 minutes ago still be bothering us? 
It was difficult to see at first but then we realized, we were actually still carrying all of our “STUFF around”. 
So we addressed it and used all of methods we’ve learned from our emotional education. …….We talked to the person who hurt our feelings. We shared with the group how today made us feel. We even did a meditation session! 
We tried everything and it still didn’t change how we felt.
Then we just accepted it. We didn’t need  to blame or shame anyone. We didn’t have to “Get over it” and we also didn’t pretend that everything was fine. 
We accepted that today wasn’t what we hoped it would be. We took responsibility for our actions and we gave today a name. 
We called it the “Horrible terrible day” which was cathartic and fun. 
We ended our day differently- by hugging each other. We didn’t say “Sorry” or come up with solutions for tomorrow. Instead we just hugged goodbye and said “I see you and I respect you”. 
This was important because sometimes it’s more important to acknowledge what has happened and accept how you feel, rather than fix it and move on. 
The end.