Emotional awareness, a pre-requisite for emotional intelligence, encompasses being in contact with, as well as effectively expressing and owning one s emotions, and is critical to the holistic functioning of children. Children in the middle childhood years are primed for learning as they have entered their formal schooling years, thereby not only needing to learn to read and write but to interact with peers and adults in a socially acceptable manner.
Children in child and youth care centres have unique challenges in coping with and overcoming the emotions caused by the circumstances that have brought them into care. Emotional awareness, and the potential benefits for children s socio-emotional skills, can be to the advantage of these children.
It is believed that emotional awareness can be taught through specific interventions, such as programmes aimed at enhancing children s skills in identifying, understanding and effectively expressing their emotions. The goal of this study was to evaluate such a programme, referred to in this study as an Emotional Awareness Programme for children in middle childhood, to be implemented within the context of a child and youth care centre. The Emotional Awareness Programme was implemented over two months at a child and youth care centre in Pretoria.
The study followed a quantitative research approach, with a quasi-experimental comparison group pre-test post-test research design. Data was collected by means of a standardised measuring instrument, the Levels of Emotional Awareness Scale for Children (LEAS-C).
The findings of the study suggested that the exposure of participants of middle childhood age in a child and youth care centre to the Emotional Awareness Programme had a limited effect on their emotional awareness. However, this effect could not be exclusively ascribed to the programme. As the context of the child and youth care centre and the traumatic experiences of children in alternative care could have an effect on the implementation of the Emotional Awareness Programme as well as on the measurement of emotional awareness, and as such, further research on the topic of this study is recommended. It is recommended that the study be replicated in other child and youth care centres.
Mini Dissertation (MSW)--University of Pretoria, 2015.