Top 5 apps for emotional learning
We want so much more for our children than healthy bodies and academic brains. We want them to be happy, enjoy friendships, to love learning. We want them to be resilient and be able to jump over obstacles and challenge their fears and negative thoughts. We want them to follow their dreams and to create their future where they are grateful and surrounded by those they love and those who love them.
Research tells us that the more emotionally and socially intelligent a child is, the more likely that they will be more academically successful and flourish into healthy happy successful adults. Thankfully, many schools around the globe have introduced social and emotional learning programs into the curriculum.
Since the iPad has been introduced into schools, we have seen many thousands of education apps appear. Many of these apps are brilliant and help make learning fun. Interestingly, there are very few apps for social and emotional learning available for school children. There are many wonderful emotional learning apps for young children and a child with special needs, however, few apps to compliment emotional learning programs in schools.
Most educational resources do not have category for these emotional learning tools. Even iTunes have 6 categories under education:
- Life Science
- Astronomy and Earth Science
Where do we look for apps to improve things like resilience, dealing with emotions, mindfulness, empathy, gratitude, bullying, trust, self-esteem and optimism? When will iTunes and others introduce a category for these incredibly important skills?
Until then here are the 5 top emotional learning apps for school aged children:
1. Positive Penguins Price: $3.99
Positive Penguins is a simple, interactive, educational tool to help children understand why they experience a range of challenging emotions. In a fun way, it gives them practical ways to understand and cope with these emotions and, most importantly, change the way they think. We have so many negative thoughts that cloud our brains every day. We want children to learn to clearly identify their automatic negative thoughts and learn to challenge them to see things more clearly and hopefully more optimistically.
This is an excellent app to help teachers and parents guide children to understand their beliefs and challenge their thinking and assumptions. Certainly it is not easy to pinpoint the negative thought but we cannot create new ways of thinking if we don’t try to understand our feelings. The app also gives teachers a fun way to empower kids of all ages to stop and reflect on feelings during the day and challenge the negative ones rather than spiral into negativity and depression. The website includes teachers resources. www.positivepenguins.com
2. Smiling Mind Price: Free
Smiling Mind is a fantastic app for young (and not so young) people to gain an understanding of mindfulness and modern meditation. It’s a simple tool that gives a sense of calm, clarity and contentment. Mindfulness and mindfulness-based meditation are becoming widely accepted tools for building resilience and wellbeing.
Children would benefit greatly in understanding these skills at an early age with the objective of better management of stress, increased resilience and therefore assisting in mitigating mental health risks in later life.
The app is very intuitive and reminds the user to undertake different activities each day. Teachers could utilize this app very easily in the classroom. The website is www.smilingmind.com.au with a downloadable educational program.
3. Middle School Confidential (Book 1 and Book 2) Price: $2.99
The award-winning Middle School Confidential series written by nationally recognized teen expert and anti-bullying activist Annie Fox, M.Ed. is an interactive comic book which would appeal to children of all ages and has some really good messages relating to social emotional learning throughout. Annie brings the characters to life and children would easily pick up different messages each time they read this.
Teachers could really have fun with this app creating wonderful discussion around sensitive issues that are all to common among upper primary and middle school aged children.
Educators can download a leaders guide from the website for the Middle School Confidential series. www.middleschoolconfidential.com
4. Emotionary Price: $1.99
The Emotionary app is designed to give young people the tools and skills to express themselves well in the digital era. It is a very unique dictionary and is a great tool that could be used in classrooms to help children develop an emotional vocabulary in a fun and interactive way. Emotionary is a dictionary of emotions and funny feelings. No fuss, no random unrelated meanings. It is a quick and easy way to expand your emotional vocabulary and express yourself better. With over 70 expressive full-sized emoticons, and hundreds of feelings to choose from it can be used for social networking for older children or in a classroom setting for younger children. The ability to express to others exactly how you are feeling is such an important skill to learn. The website www.funnyfeelings.com.au includes teachers resources and other tools for teaching emotional intelligence.
5. Live Happy Price: $0.99
Although this is an iphone/ipod app it does work on the ipad and it is a great tool. Live Happy was based on the research and teachings of Sonja Lyubomirsky, a positive psychology researcher. It includes educational tidbits and videos that can help you better understand what is known about the attainment of happiness and resilience, as well as features that encourage you to engage in happiness-promoting activities. The application lets you choose from several different activities, tells you what to do, and tells you why and how this particular activity promotes happiness.
The app is aimed more towards adults so for primary aged children a teacher would best guide it. However, it is a great tool for teachers to build in daily activities for children to help them boost their happiness and form positive habits. Website: www.signalpatterns.com