As former educator, Reisa Schwartzman founder of Griddly Games in 2007, has more than 35 years of experience working with children, and keeps a strict company philosophy to offer games that encourage social interaction, learning, strategy and challenges that anyone can enjoy. Reisa taught and had her own dance school for over 18 years and was a well-known choreographer in British Columbia. Reisa sits on the WIT board as the Canadian rep. She has been instrumental for many years in local educational boards and held the position of president for 4 years. She spear headed the creation of the largest secular Jewish High School in Western Canada. She holds a BPE in exercise physiology and dance, with a long history of sports, a fitness instructor, and owner of own dance school. She is the mother of three wonderful sons and a great husband. She also runs with her father a family construction, development and property management company.
What is a school of Excellence? Most recognize schools for their excellence in academic processes and its outcomes. As a parent, school board member and teacher, I’ve listened to countless numbers of parents torment themselves over this topic. Many parents are hyper-parenting. They are trying to provide every possible educational and growth experience so their children are the smartest and the best. But the development and enhancement of intelligence and leadership qualities in parts depends on the emotional environment. But, teaching Emotional Education! What would that do? Interestingly, career, success and personal sense of well-being depend on emotional fitness.
Everyone is so focused today on curriculum excellence that Emotional Education may have been overlooked. Emotional Education is a continuous learning process which everyone makes throughout their lifetime, starting from the youngest moments developing appropriate skills and intelligence for dealing with their inner and outer surroundings. On the inner level, emotional education aims at dealing properly with the emotional and mental aspects of our being, strengthening self-esteem and confidence, on the outer level it aims at developing suitable and creative communication skills.
Research shows that social and emotional development plays an important part in children’s academic success and health. Unlike IQ, emotional competence can be nurtured and developed, and is a key factor in physical and mental health, social competence, academic achievement and other aspects in the personal and social development of children and young people.
Researchers have found that students who show problematic classroom behaviors such as inattention or achievement anxiety demonstrated lower academic achievement. Research findings indicate that learned behaviors in competence, motivation, general attitude towards learning, attention, persistence, social skills, and motivation have a distinctive and unique relationship with academic achievement beyond cognitive ability and academic competence.
I believe that spending a lot of time playing games in the classroom can teach children how to have better attitude, motivation and social skills. Michel Claeys, author of The Emotional Intelligence Training Program based his curriculum on games and activities and believes that games belong in every school program. He believes that playing games will teach students to deal with feelings, identify needs, formulate demands, listen and communicate efficiently, take responsibility, think creatively and positively, build up self-esteem and act with assertiveness, achieve success by developing inner empowerment, deal creatively with conflict situations, develop a stronger sense of identity. All these rely on skills that can and should be taught. However, more than any other teaching, they require direct experience, which is why group dynamics, board games and fun are a fundamental part of Emotional Education.
Playing board games promotes Emotional Education which will inevitably teach being socially responsible, playing by the rules, thinking first, being tolerant of others, planning your time, setting goals, working tough, giving effort, being independent, taking risks, accepting myself and knowing that “ I can do it!”
With play on the decline at home and in the school, we risk losing these and many other benefits. For too long, we have treated play as a luxury. But it is important to recognize why play is worth defending. It is essential to leading a happy and healthy life.
Play is necessary to positive human development! Playing board games as a family or in your classroom is a great way to bond and exercise some of that competitive spirit in a fun and healthy manner while giving each student the opportunity to work on their emotional education.