One of the topics discussed at our peace circle in the beginning of the year is feelings. Young children are learning to recognize other people’s feelings through facial expressions, body language and verbal cues. The children took part in making faces and demonstrating what each feeling might look like. We also discussed what causes us to feel certain ways; sadness about saying good-bye to a parent at drop off or anger about a dispute over a toy. Many of the children shared what makes them feel sad; moving away from a cousin, the death of a pet and what makes them feel happy, playing with their mom or visiting their grandparents. The children practiced the sign language to accompany different emotions and listened to the book Today, I Feel Silly.
3 and 4 year-olds are cognitively developing the skills to understand and care about other’s emotions. This is a contributing factor in their ability to build friendships and resolve conflicts with their peers.