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Permission to Feel

By November 17, 2020Uncategorized

Bridget Manley shares her thoughts on the Common Ground session


Due to the global pandemic, individuals and schools are being tested in a way that is unprecedented.  Now more than ever, Dr. Maria Montessori’s whole-child approach to education is critical to ensure our children remain socially and emotionally prepared to shift and grow along with our ever-changing world. As a teacher in the Upper Elementary program, I believe nurturing mental health should be our number one priority this year.

“Prepare the child for the path and not the path for the child.”

It was my pleasure to attend last week’s virtual Princeton’s Common Ground session featuring Dr. Marc Brackett, founding director of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence and Professor in the Child Study Center.  During the talk, Dr. Brackett discussed his book, ‘Permission to Feel: Unlocking the Power of Emotions to Help Our Kids, Ourselves, and Our Society Thrive.’ As both a PMONTS teacher and parent, I found several of his key points extremely helpful:

  • Both adults and children are feeling an increase in anxiety, stress, and frustration due to current world events and uncertainties. Dr. Brackett emphasizes the importance of naming those emotions.  He states, “You have to name it to tame it.”

  • Try to be an “Emotion Scientist,” someone who accepts emotions as information and views them from a place of learning rather than judgment. This enables an individual to view their emotions as temporary and transient, rather than errors that are permanent. An “Emotion Judge” has a fixed mindset while an “Emotion Scientist” has a growth-mindset. 

  • Regulating emotions is half the battle. The “7 Emotion Regulation Strategies” can assist us throughout our journey.  They are:

    1. Permission to feel

    2. Physiological regulation (breathing, mindfulness)

    3. Self-care basics (sleep, nutrition, exercise)

    4. Self-care activities (doing things you enjoy)

    5. Healthy relationships (staying connected)

    6. Managing your thoughts (managing negative self-talk)

    7. Routines and rituals

  • Positive self-talk is essential. Being aware of negative thoughts and re-framing them will assist you in maintaining balance throughout your day.

I feel fortunate to have the opportunity to continue my own professional development during the pandemic. As Dr. Montessori said, the spiritual preparation of the teacher is essential in creating greater peace in our classrooms and nurturing the inner lives of the children. Dr. Brackett’s advice is applicable to all of us and social-emotional learning is critical to our happiness and success.



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