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Partnership Launches Emotional Intelligence Resources for Families

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By Sean Cavanagh. Cross posted from Marketplace K-12.

GreatSchools, probably best known for providing parents with online ratings of schools, is launching an effort to give families a very different set of resources—focused on cultivating "emotional smarts" in children.

The nonprofit organization, which has created profiles of about 200,000 public and private schools, has announced a new collaboration with the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, known of its groundbreaking research on that scientific theory.

GreatSchools, founded in 1998, currently receives funding through advertising and sponsorships, as well as through philanthropic support, said Steve Padilla, the organization's director of communications. It has established partnerships with Stanford University in the past to create resources, he noted, but this is the first collaboration with the Yale center.

The new tools for parents are meant to help children build emotional intelligence and character, and develop skills such as "resilience, confidence, gratitude, courage, empathy, and grit," the Oakland, Calif.-based organization said in a statement. The online resources for parents, now posted on GreatSchools.org, include articles, videos, and other materials developed in cooperation with the Yale Center.

Parents will receive information meant to help them navigate many of the dramas that routinely erupt in households—related to discipline, friendships, sibling rivalry, bullying, and many other issues.

One of the online tools that is being housed on GreatSchools.org is a series of videos, "Through a Child's Eyes," meant to help parents see problems from a child's point of view. Another resource, called "Emotional Toolbox," features video, articles, advice on challenges that parents face, and on building character.

Here's a clip from "Through a Child's Eyes":

GreatSchools estimates that it has provided 1.4 million ratings and reviews of schools by teachers, parents, and students, In addition, it has been offering parents and the general public resources beyond its school reviews for some time now, Padilla said.

In addition to conducting research on emotional intelligence, the Yale Center has created a whole-school approach to changing school climate and cultivating emotional intelligence, called RULER, which the center says has been adopted by hundreds of U.S. public and private schools. (RULER is an acronym that stands for recognizing, understanding, labeling, expressing, and regulating emotions.)

Kathryn M. Lee, the director of the RULER for Families program, said center officials saw the partnership as a way to broadcast useful, scientifically based ideas for helping children to a broad audience.

As part of that process, Yale center officials also relied on GreatSchools to help craft messages about emotional intelligence that were easy to understand, and catchy, she added.

"We had to take a step back from thinking about it as an in-depth [research] experience to one that would engage parents very quickly, address their needs, and really get across some of the core issues in emotion-science," Lee explained.

GreatSchools "is moving in a different world" than academic researchers are, she added. "They're focused outward."


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