Investing in a child’s emotional awareness allows for evident improvement in positive behaviour and rich development on all levels of functioning. Children who are emotionally aware have the knowledge of the innate nature of emotions as well as the ability to acknowledge and experience emotions. The importance of the development of emotional awareness is often overlooked, this more so in the South African educational system. It is for that reason that the goal of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of an already developed Emotional Awareness Programme within a specific school setting. The study was based on evaluating the effectiveness of the Emotional Awareness Programme within a private school setting.
The focus of the study was on children in the middle childhood phase of development and to evaluate whether emotional awareness can be taught within a classroom setting with the aid of an Emotional Awareness Programme. Emotional awareness in this study was not viewed as a stand-alone concept but contextualised as a prerequisite for emotional intelligence. The study further aimed to evaluate whether the implementation of the Emotional Awareness Programme for seven weeks with grade three learners had an influence on their emotional vocabulary, emotional expression and emotional awareness in general.
The study was quantitative in nature as seen in the structured guidelines in terms of the modules and activities of the Emotional Awareness Programme and the predetermination of all that forms part of the research process, i.e. goal, objectives, type, design and research methodology. The study was based on applied research as it focused on an immediate issue in the discipline. The data collected from the standardised questionnaire, particularly the Levels of Emotional Awareness Scale for Children (LEAS-C) indicated that it is possible to enhance not only the emotional awareness of children in middle childhood but also the emotional vocabulary and emotional expression. It is therefore recommended that this Emotional Awareness Programme be incorporated within the South African school curriculum and possibly be stretched over a period longer than seven weeks. Inclusion of a broader target market for future research is also believed to be essential.