My stomach feels hot and I want to hit him!

I have had a wonderful time recently teaching I Matter Principles in a crash 3 week course to 60 year 6 pupils (aged 10-11yrs old) at Ghyllside Primary School in Kendal.   This was a thoughtful part of the preparation of the pupils in their coming process of transitioning to the secondary school

The sessions went very well and the group caught on quickly to some of the key ideas.  The staff at the school have already taken part in an I Matter staff inset and so I was pleased when it was widely agreed that this group of pupils would benefit from time to think about how to understand and manage their own feelings. 

Just as with adults in session 1, I started off with an exercise in which we thought together about what they already knew about the symptoms of stress.    It did not take them long to identify a good long list of physical sensations, emotions, behaviours and thinking patterns - ie the I Matter symptoms of RED.    Just as with adults it was more challenging for them to identify the sensations, emotions, behaviours and thinking patterns of GREEN.     

In session 2 I introduced the simple I Matter model of the brain.   The pupils were actively engaged and interested and we had an interesting though all too short discussion about what RED and GREEN looked like, including such things as the nature of memory and thought at a brain level.   By Session 3 using examples, such as 'how do you think you would feel if one of your best friends says they don't want to play with you?'  we were exploring the nature of Stimulus - Belief - Response and the ideas were flowing fast.    "My stomach would feel hot and I would want to hit him", was a spontaneous sharing from the group.  

I believe that nurturing this informed self-awareness is critically important for all children, but particularly for our most complex children.  In the complex world in which we live, and in which they often live or have lived, words for feelings is a critical empowering tool that can give a child the ability to handle challenging situations without becoming part of an escalating process.  

Of course, we always need more time to discuss such issues.... but I hope that a few small seeds will have taken root.   If you would like to learn more about how i Matter Training can help you build your confidence in helping the children in your care gain this critical language for and understanding of feelings, why not contact me on cathy@imatterproject.com!


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