A quick and easy idea to get started with an emotions scrapbook in an Early Years setting.
This sorting task focused on developing early emotional vocabulary. The emotion symbols were laid out. The nursery pupils were asked to divide the images into emotions they liked or felt nice to experience and those that didn’t. The practitioner and children engaged in an emotional dialogue during the task: Although the children were unaware of any cogs or concepts, the practitioner was, pointing out and copying facial expressions (behaviours, green cog), naming emotions (orange cog) from the images and speculating about simple body sensations (red/pink cog), e.g. “Look at those wide eyes and mouth and those raised eyebrows! That face is frightened. There’s a hand in front of the face. I bet their heart is beating fast too!” The discussion also included times when one or other of them had felt that emotion (triggers, yellow cog) to give context and deepen understanding. More complex or unfamiliar emotions were explained using age and stage appropriate comparisons (“depressed feels like a long and heavy sadness”) and examples (“you felt interested in Tim Peake’s trip to Space and asked lots of questions to show that”). After discussing each picture, the group agreed on whether it felt nice or not and glued it into the appropriate page.
The symbols used represented words that the children had been exposed to within the Early Years setting. Many emotion words were similar to each other in meaning. Any which the children did not understand, with support, were discarded.
The discussion during the task was rich with emotional vocabulary. The practitioner was able to assess, support and extend the child’s emotional word knowledge and understanding of emotional concepts. The sorting task also revealed the child’s emotional self-awareness and how they each viewed emotions.
(N.B. The scrapbook page titles say “good” and “bad” but it was made clear before and during the task that all emotions are normal and no emotions are “bad”.)