What does the heart have to do with education? More and more studies (and simple observation) show that knowledge alone is not the key to success in life. There is a strong emotional intelligence component that is often neglected. If your child is knowledgeable, develops great test-taking skills and is technologically adept, but has no resilience, no compassion, no mastery of his emotions, and can’t work collaboratively, he will still struggle to be happy in life. And isn’t that the ultimate measure of success: happiness? Isn’t that what we really want for our kids?
The ability to control emotions and be resilient happen to facilitate greater intellectual learning as well. Research at the Institute of HeartMath (heartmath.org) has identified a measurable physiological state that is conducive to optimal learning and performance. This state is the state of entrainment. You may be familiar with the entrainment phenomenon of pendulum clocks in which all clocks on the same wall (or in the vicinity) will eventually swing in sync with the largest pendulum – the one with the strongest rhythm (strongest oscillator). Well, guess what the strongest biological oscillator in the human body is? That’s right, the heart!
This state, when our heart pulls the brain and the rest of the body into entrainment and we are “in-sync” physically, mentally, and emotionally, enhances our higher cognitive processes for focusing attention, storing information, reasoning and creative thinking—the perfect conditions for effective learning, academic achievement and social success.
Therein lies the value of social and emotional learning, essentially the heart, in our children’s education.
If you’d like to learn about a heart-centered, social and emotional learning program from the Institute of HeartMath called HeartSmarts, be sure to sign up for the upcoming workshop at Whole Child Texas on January 12th.
Jill Baumann, B.S., N.C., is a life coach focusing on the power of thought as well as a functional nutritionist. She offers innovative workshops, group life coaching and private 1:1 coaching services. Learn more at JillBaumann.com.