Wildwood is…for the love of mud!

How can mud play 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 reminds us that “You learn at your best when you have something you care about, and you get pleasure from being engaged in.” (94)


Let’s look at mud 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 participate fully in ways that are comfortable to them.


  1. Managing emotions:

Sensory play with natural materials brings children to a calm state.


  1. Motivating oneself:

Children feel motivated when they contribute to the play community.


  1. Recognizing emotions in others:

Children are responding positively to the differing capabilities and perspectives of others.


  1. Handling relationships:

Every child has a sense of belonging when connected to others.


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


According to Forest and Natures School’s guide, “Forest and nature school educators act as a creative spark for the group, encouraging the growth of new ideas by making available to the children materials, resources, and experiences that expand their creative, imaginative, and exploratory play.” (17)


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