“I am going to show you card with a face on it,” says Gilly, the workshop leader at M6 Theatre. “The face shows an emotion. I want you to read that feeling and put it on your face and in your body.” Thirty faces and bodies contort on command.
“When I tap you on the shoulder I want you to say the word that describes the feeling.”
Gilly moves amongst the children gathering emotions: angry, furious, upset, totally mad, sad, anxious, really angry. The children saw the same picture. They did not read it in quite the same way.
All Linking children in Rochdale spend their neutral venue visit day at M6 Theatre. The neutral venue is a space where the children meet for the first time. It’s where they really get to know each other. We hope it’s where friendships blossom.
“What amazing work.” says Gilly. “You can really read and show emotions.” She holds up another face card and the children start to respond.
Emotional intelligence covers five key areas: empathy, self-awareness, emotional control, self-motivation and relationship skills. Reading, showing and naming emotions is a very small part of the visit. It is also central to the work taking place.
There are lots of times when we ask children, by necessity, to put their emotions to one side. Linking offers a safe space to explore these. We ask children to empathise, be self-aware of their own feelings and think about how these feeling can impact on their new friendships. Linking is, above all, about relationships.
Over the course of the workshop Gilly asks the group to think about how people might feel in different situations. She asks them to show this with their bodies. To put it in their faces. To walk in another person’s shoes. They create freeze frames of ways in which we can help save the world with small acts of kindness. All of these activites help children to develop emotional intelligence. She doesn’t say it but, really, she is asking: Who am I? Who are we? How do we all live together?
Blog by Erica Field, Rochdale Schools Linking