Emotional Balance

Basic emotional awareness is built into the imagination exercises and activities so that children can label their emotions and distinguish between different types of emotions such as happy or sad. The aim of the ImaginationGYM Methodology is to create a positive attitude to emotional expression rather than having them being suppressed. This expression may initially be done by the child symbolically drawing or writing in an activity book. In this environment the children do not have to show or discuss their work. This is because of a major principle of the Methodology called ‘Creative Freedom’ and is discussed in more detail in the Parents Guide to ImaginationGYM and on training courses

However over time our research has shown that children will eventually show their work to a trusted adult if they have not done so initially. This can then provide an opportunity, using the material generated by the child, to discuss the emotions in more detail.

There are techniques in the imagination exercises that make sure that the child always feels safe in the story. But equally some of the techniques will help identify the emotional wellbeing of the child. For example in The Enchanted Forest the child is invited to make three wishes. Initially a child usually asks for material things. But with repeated use and as the child becomes more comfortable with the story, these wishes often become inverted emotional desires, e.g. ‘I want my mummy to get better’, ‘I wish my parents would stop fighting’, ‘I wish Brad would stop bullying me’. An educator or parent can use this information as clues to the emotional balance of the child and to assist the child back into balance by discussing the emotion being felt.