“We know from human history and the latest learning science that success comes from the combination of academic knowledge and the ability to work with others.”
– Former Aspen Institute President and CEO, Walter Isaacson

We now know that intellectual capacity (IQ), knowledge and technical skills are not sufficient to succeed in work and life. Through direct experience, and backed by science, we now recognize that we must also learn and teach emotional intelligence (EQ).

What is Emotional Intelligence (EQ)?

Emotional Intelligence is the ability to identify, express and manage emotions and to recognize, understand and influence the emotions of others. It also includes the ability to empathize with others, to create healthy relationships, to work toward and achieve goals and to make responsible decisions while developing resilience, confidence, and well-being.

Daniel Goleman’s model of Emotional Intelligence includes the concepts of Self-Awareness, Self-Regulation, Social Awareness and Relationship Management.

Self-Awareness is composed of emotional, somatic and cognitive awareness — that is the awareness of your own feelings, bodily sensations and thoughts on a moment to moment basis. When we are aware of our emotions, physical sensations and thoughts we are more likely to respond to the environment around us from a conscious state rather than a reactive state.

A quick self-awareness practice for children and adults is the 3-Center Check-In:

  1. What am I thinking?
  2. What am I feeling emotionally?
  3. What am I sensing physically?

[Insert photos of hand on head, hand on heart, hand on gut]

Self-Regulation is the ability to manage your emotions, behavior and thoughts. People who have highly developed self-regulation are able to adapt more easily to a changing environment, to choose a positive outlook and to focus on their goals. Mindfulness and journaling are two important tools for managing emotions, behavior and thoughts.

A quick self-regulation practice for children and adults is the STOP practice:

Stop/curb the impulse
Take a deep breath

[Insert Photo of Child Taking a Pause Type of Breath]

Social Awareness
Social Awareness is your ability to understand, empathize and influence the feelings of others. A way to deepen social awareness is through listening. There are levels of listening:

  1. Listening from Habits of Judgment: This is where we listen with the slant of re-confirming old opinions and judgments. At this level, we often are just waiting to respond, rather than truly listening.
  2. Factual Listening: This is where we listen with an open mind, from a place of curiosity. We are open to new information coming in.
  3. Empathic Listening: This is where we listen with an open mind and an open heart. We see through the other person’s eyes, we have an emotional connection to them and the experience they are sharing. We pick up on their words, their body language, emotional expressions and energy.
  4. Generative Listening: This is where we listen with an open mind, open heart and open will, where we listen from the future that wants to emerge.

As we progress on the scale from 1 to 4, we become more fully present in the current moment with each greater listening level.

Relational Management
Relational management, or your ability to work with others effectively — to communicate, understand, lead and influence others — is developed through practices such as mindfulness, listening exercises, journaling reflections and conversations with others. Here are conversation prompts for strengthening your relational management.

  • What worked?
  • What could have been better?
  • Tell me how I annoy you.
  • How can I love you better?
  • What were the surprises?
  • How could we work together more effectively?

Mindfulness as the Basis for Emotional Intelligence

Mindfulness is a practice of noticing and observing in the present moment, with a sense of kindness and curiosity towards yourself and others. Mindfulness can be practiced while doing anything — it is simply being fully present in the present moment activity and surrounding environment instead of being caught up in a story line of what might happen, what someone might think of you, of what happened in the past, etc. Through practicing mindfulness, you create awareness and presence in the current moment and deepen your emotional intelligence.

Centner Academy Nurtures Your Child’s Emotional Intelligence

Developing emotional intelligence is integrated in our Centner Academy curriculum through storytelling and project-based work, and in practice through a designated space — the love and peace corner — where children can safely express and process their emotions in a nurturing environment before returning to their activity.

Our entire curriculum and school culture is intentionally built on a foundation of developing, practicing and deepening the emotional intelligence of our children, our teachers and staff, as well as parents. Centner Academy is committed to providing our entire community with the knowledge, tools and resources to learn, grow and perform at its best.


  1. https://www.aspeninstitute.org/programs/national-commission-on-social-emotional-and-academic-development/