As substantiated by the various sources of reference used in this study, emotional
awareness has a positive and far-reaching effect on the development of many areas
of a child s life. Emotional awareness impacts on various dimensions of children in the
middle childhood developmental phase. Emotional awareness is seen as a
prerequisite for emotional intelligence, as at the core of emotional intelligence is the
ability to understand ourselves and others as emotional beings (Howe, 2008:11).
Being emotionally aware not only enhances self-esteem and self-expression, it also
has a positive impact on peer relationships, learning and academic performance.
As children in middle childhood spend a large part of their days in school, the goal of
this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of a seven-week Emotional Awareness
Programme (EA Programme) developed by Knoetze (2012). For the purpose of this
study the EA Programme was implemented with Grade Two learners in a private
school setting. The study also aimed to evaluate whether the implementation of the
EA Programme would have an influence on emotional vocabulary, emotional
expression and emotional awareness.
The Gestalt perspective provided the theoretical framework for this study, as it views
the child as a whole and complex being. The experience of an emotion will thus always
be associated with a physiological and psychological component (Blom, 2006:22).
Confluent education, the synthesis between the affective and cognitive domain, is
seen as a valued condition directly related to healthy growth and development (Yontef,
2005:xxii). The Gestalt perspective was therefore identified as best suited for the
research study. The study was conducted using a quantitative research approach and this type of
research was applied, as it was undertaken to tackle real-world social problems in
order to contribute to public policy decisions, specifically with regards to emotional
awareness within the field of education. By means of programme evaluation the
researcher aimed to examine the effectiveness of the EA Programme developed by
Knoetze (2012). A quasi-experimental design was utilised in order to test the existence
of a causal relationship between emotional awareness and the EA Programme. A total
of twenty-eight participants took part in the study. A purposive sampling process was
utilised in order to select an experimental and comparison group. The data was
collected by employing the Levels of Emotional Awareness Scale for Children (LEASC),
a standardised measuring instrument used to test the respondents level of
emotional awareness, emotional vocabulary and expression.
The outcome of the empirical study demonstrated that the EA Programme developed
by Knoetze (2012) achieved its aim to develop and enhance the emotional
awareness of learners in middle childhood in a South African school setting. It is the
opinion of the researcher that it would be of value to conduct future research with a
broader target population, within varied cultural and socio-economic South African
school contexts. The Draft National Policy for the Role of Therapists and Social
Workers (Department of Education, 2001-2015:3) suggests that needs-based
programmes and services to learners who experience social problems within the
context of the educational environment, should be implemented. This study
demonstrated the value social work expertise and skills can add to developing the
emotional needs of children within a school context, which in turn enhances children s
social well-being and learning.
Mini Dissertation (MSW)--University of Pretoria, 2015.