Wildwood is…at the Water’s Edge

How can playing among the pebbles at the water’s edge support your child’s development of emotional intelligence and self-esteem?


Emotional Intelligence (EI) is the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically. EI is the key to success in life.


In his ground-breaking book, Emotional Intelligence, Daniel Goleman infers that “Achieving mastery of any skill or body of knowledge should ideally happen naturally, as the child is drawn to the areas that spontaneously engage her-that, in essence, she loves.” (p. 94)


Let’s look at pebble beach play through the lens of Daniel Goleman’s five domains of emotional intelligence; as they relate to the document How Does Learning Happen?


  1. Knowing ones emotions:

Children are content to engage in their own activities.


  1. Managing emotions:

The calmness of the water evokes calmness in children.


  1. Motivating oneself:

Open-ended materials promote mindfulness.


  1. Recognizing emotions in others:

A sense of calm and focus comes from playing close to others who are calm and focused.


  1. Handling relationships:

Children are respecting others need for space to explore.


How can the adult (educator, parent, and caregiver) support this development?


According to Forest and Natures School’s guide, educators “believe in the importance-and the joy!-of not simply permitting but encouraging children to get dirty and wet in order to experience a sense of connection to place…” (18)


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