It is widely known that for learning to take place, children need to feel cared for and safe, both emotionally and physically. For this reason, at Girton Grammar School, the wellbeing of students comes first, before teaching even begins. The development of Emotional Intelligence is the cornerstone of Girton’s student wellbeing approach. It is an important component of the School’s operation and every child’s education.
From Prep through to Year 12, the development of Emotional Intelligence is primarily taught through the internationally acclaimed “RULER” Approach, developed by Yale University.
The approach is based on decades of research that demonstrates the impact of emotions on learning, decision making, creativity, relationships and health. The mantra of “Emotions Matter” is well known to Girton Grammar students.
Emotional Intelligence at Girton
The RULER approach was introduced to the School in 2011 after a team of teachers were sent to Yale University to study directly under the Director of the Yale Centre for Emotional Intelligence, Dr Marc Brackett, PhD.
Since that time, Dr Brackett has visited Girton Grammar multiple times, ensuring a sustained and up to date approach in his ground-breaking methods throughout the School. Workshops on the RULER approach are also conducted for parents so that there is consistency in approach, especially for very young children.
The School “Imagine” Charter
In 2017 a whole-school Charter titled “Imagine” was launched. The Charter is the culmination of a vast body of work undertaken by the school RULER team and importantly, by students and staff who contributed their thoughts on how they would like to feel when they are at School and the behaviours that are required to support those feelings.
The Charter captures the essence of the School’s Mission and Values document and the personality of our School. It is intended to be timeless and to endure in our memories by being emotive. We hope that by asking the reader to ‘imagine’, that they are taken on a journey, not simply led to a preordained destination.
The Charter is presented regularly to students in a range of ways and is intended to be challenging and aspirational. It encourages a high level of accountability for our personal emotions and behaviours.
To view the school charter, click here.
The Imagine Badges
The “Imagine” badges help to bring the School Charter to life. Every Girton student is presented with an “Imagine” badge to wear at School, as a tangible, daily reminder of the values that are embodied in the school Charter.
The badges help students to engage in conversation, attitudes and behaviours related to Emotional Intelligence and by choosing a particular badge value, it is hoped that the meaning behind the badge captures the essence of the school for that child.
For more information about the School Charter and Imagine badges, Download our Imagine & Regulate – Creating an Enduring Reality document.
Age-Appropriate Student Wellbeing
As each child experiences the challenges of childhood, adolescence and young adulthood, they must have the right type of support to stay balanced and to pick themselves up as needed.
At Girton, student wellbeing is a shared responsibility amongst all staff and students are encouraged to be accountable for their own thoughts and feelings. At every phase of learning, there is a team of experienced Student Wellbeing staff dedicated to ensuring that each student has access to the resources needed to grow and develop into a confident, resilient and capable young person.
The following are some of the specific initiatives that support the development of Emotional Intelligence for students at Girton:
- Classroom RULER training and RULER parent education sessions
- Prep and Year 7 transition programs
- Wellbeing assemblies with expert guest speakers
- Exploration of Emotional Intelligence in House Tutor Groups
- Expert guest speakers in student/parent after school sessions
- Personal Development classes in Senior School curriculum – self-identity or ‘brand’, self-esteem, decision making, etc.
- Life-skill sessions
In emotionally intelligent schools, children learn to manage the feelings of anger, disappointment, or shame that might otherwise push them to react inappropriately.
Yale’s research shows that students with higher Emotional Intelligence are better prepared to manage their emotional lives so that they can focus, learn and do their best in school, and this is our hope for every Girton student.