We are aware of how important it is for students to grow socially and emotionally, in addition to growing academically at Saint Stephen’s. Emotional intelligence (EQ) is the ability to know one’s own emotions, manage one’s emotions, understand the emotions of others and manage relationships with others (Salovey & Mayer, 1990; Goleman, 1995). Head of School Dr. Jan Pullen, who received her doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania, researched emotional intelligence for her dissertation and has brought that research back to Saint Stephen's to create this initiative.
Our small classroom environment and warm community provide fertile ground for the curricular inclusion of emotional intelligence. Saint Stephen’s students know that they are safe to express themselves and know the importance of listening to and understanding others. As an Episcopal school welcoming all faiths, we are in a unique position to discuss morals, values, and spirituality both in and outside of the chapel experience.
Our students benefit from our advisory programs, an emphasis on community service, and our Honor Code as vehicles for the development of empathy, and the ability to perceive, use, understand, and manage emotions. Saint Stephen’s parents benefit from an informative and supportive Parents’ Association, and from periodic programming for parents emphasizing a wide-range of topics related to student development. Annually, SSES hosts its very successful “Headliners in Education” series, featuring experts from among our staff and faculty, as well as external experts. They share information about many topics important to parents of young children and there is typically an emotional intelligence component involved.
Faculty members periodically receive specific training in emotional intelligence techniques through Six Seconds and they are encouraged to incorporate EQ into their daily lessons.
By helping students grow emotionally, we are encouraging them to manage their feelings, and teaching them to recognize and be sensitive to the feelings of others. With all of the concerns today in schools about bullying behaviors, the administration and faculty at Saint Stephen’s address these issues by teaching students to both understand the importance of empathy and know there are consequences for negative behavior towards others.