Discovering Emotional Literacy
In the mid-eighties, after going through intense physical and emotional healing, and watching my peers going through similar experiences, I wondered why we were not taught about our emotions as children. I had been taught everything, from reading and writing to geography, history, math, physics, chemistry, etc. However, none of it had taught me anything about myself!
Why should we learn about our emotions, relationships, and love, through trial and error? With these questions in mind, I spent years learning about emotions, connecting with top psychologists, psychiatrists, and early childhood educators. Up to this point, emotions had been stuck in the realm of psychology and seen as issues to be healed and fixed rather than something that could be learned and used for success in life.
In 1987 I coined the term ‘Emotional Literacy’ sighting it as the key missing ingredient in our children’s education – a previously unrecognized connection. Hand-in-hand with this came the first non-profit organization and media company for the promotion of EL. Enchanté Entertainment (now Kids EQ) and Feel.org.
These ventures are dedicated to teaching children and their parents how to use the energy and information of their emotions to live healthier, happier, and more successful lives. With the help of many friends — teachers, doctors, authors, artists, and business leaders (who became known as the enchanted family). We dreamt that one-day Emotional Literacy would be commonplace and there would be much less need for emotional healing – and thus much less pain and violence in the world.
Enchanté Entertainment / Kids EQ
Enchanté Entertainment (Kids EQ), is a media company dedicated to promoting Emotional literacy at home and in school. Enchanté published a 21–book series on Emotional Literacy and a 6–book series on the magic of color. Enchanté and its affiliates also created, produced and released two award-winning feature films and three television series for children. These were created in conjunction with media partners SONY, Warner Brothers, and HBO, along with producers Norman Lear, actress Shelly Duvall, and former Disney animator Jim George.
In 2019, KidsEQ began expanding its content and training with a new online distribution model – the KidsEQ e-franchise store. KidsEQ is also currently developing a subscription-based game platform with hundreds of SEL (social-emotional learning) games.
In 1993 Ayman and partner Rowan Gabrielle founded Feel.org – the Foundation for Education in Emotional Literacy – with Dr. Christopher Hills, Dr. Sirah Vettese and Harold Bloomfield MD. Feel.org was the first non-profit organization committed to raising awareness of Emotional Literacy. Its quarterly newsletter was mailed to hundreds of thousands of school teachers, universities, and psychologists. In 1997, Feel.org folded into Six Seconds, who has since become the largest global umbrella organization dedicated to promoting the understanding and practice of Emotional Intelligence in schools, families, organizations, and communities. Six Seconds’ vision is to have 1 billion people practicing EQ by 2030.
Together with Six Seconds and HeartMath, Ayman co-founded the Feel.org ‘Emotional Literacy campaign’ to supply schools in the US with products, information, and training services in Emotional Literacy. Feel.org’s vision is to upgrade our children’s education with emotional and social learning as essential life skills and a core part of every child’s education, providing them with the keys to success in life, healthy relationships, and well being.
What is Emotional Literacy? Why is it Important?
Emotional Literacy is the ability to recognize, understand, and appropriately express our emotions. It is the first step towards building our emotional intelligence (EQ) and the cornerstone of emotional and social learning. (SEL)
EL is key to conscious parenting. It is the first step towards building your emotional intelligence. Becoming emotionally literate is learning the alphabet, grammar, and vocabulary of your emotional life. In a world where academic literacy is increasingly the norm, and others like financial and computer literacy are expected, Emotional Literacy must become commonplace in order for human beings to grow, evolve, and face the challenges of the future.
As we evolve and our cultures change, new forms of literacy are required to give us the proper tools to deal with a broad and ever-changing spectrum of issues.
Emotions are an integral part of human nature. Through them, we respond to life in many different ways, such as anger, happiness, fear, love, and loneliness. Emotions influence our thoughts and actions, they inspire our needs, they affect our bodies and they impact our relationships. They are not enemies to be rebuffed, repressed, or rejected but rather allies to be honored, understood, and directed. Ignored, they become willful tyrants. Respected, they are our cherished helpers.
A major contributing factor to many of the problems in modern society is a lack of awareness, in most people, of the vital role played by emotions. Emotional Literacy is a positive preventive tool which – when properly understood – can assist society in solving many of its ills. It is the antidote to violence, illness, drug abuse, dysfunctional relationships, and global societal conflicts, to name a few.
Emotional Literacy is universally relevant. It can benefit every individual, every organization, and every profession. It has the capacity to transform each person and their relationships.
Emotional Literacy is a profound and beautiful language available to everyone that can be implemented rapidly, safely, and with lasting effect. Learning how to become emotionally literate is one of the best investments that human beings can make for themselves, their children, and the future.
Emotional Literacy is key to taking advantage of all possibilities. It is basic to joy and enthusiasm for life and fundamental to your ability to love others.
The magic of this program is in the synergy between the illustrated story book, the kids activity book, and the parents’ guide.Try it out with a FREE download of the Anger set.
‘The Magic of Color Series’ was developed to accompany the ‘Emotional Literacy’ series which is sourced in art and play. Written by Neysa Griffith.
Enchante Entertainment produced two award winning featured films ‘Magic Boat’ and ‘Palooka’, and partnered with Shelly Duvall and Norman Lear in 3 TV series, ‘Bedtime Stories’, ‘Miss Piggle Wiggle’ and Umptee 3 TV’.