Page 8 THE VILLADOM TIMES II, III & IV • June 3, 2009 SCHOOLS & CAMPS Emotional intelligence and your child: How camp helps Why consider summer camp for your child? Perhaps you hope to raise another Michelle Kwan or Tiger Woods. Maybe you are desperate for an alternative to a summer of day care, chauffeuring, and video games. There is another even more compelling reason to consider a high-quality summer camp according to the child development experts at the American Camp Association. This reason, emotional intelligence, is finally getting the attention it deserves. Children at summer camps are learning vital life skills that will help them grow – and will make their lives healthier and happier all along the way. Consider the following scenarios: Jeremy and Tony are excited to go fishing. Their counselor helps them work out a way to share the one rod fairly without arguing. Their new-found ability to share without anger carries over to their cabin and who will operate the only working flashlight. Sarah’s nature counselor watches with delight to see this shy nine-year-old gently and competently organize her camp friends into teams for a wildflower search. At the beginning of camp, Sarah was too nervous even to express an opinion about whether she preferred hot dogs or burgers on the grill. Matthew and Valerie watch out for Robert as he maneuvers the climbing wall. They yell encouragement, cheering on their camp friend, who, unlike his cabin-mates, struggles daily with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. On Opening Day, these two teased Robert about his unstable walk and slow progress across the field. Cabin discussions about disabilities, a counselor’s careful example of kindness and respect, and just spending time together, have helped the three form a strong friendship. Emotional Intelligence: Nature or Nurture? These children all demonstrate sophisticated skills in areas scientists are suddenly watching closely. Observers are finding that a set of abilities, collectively called emotional intelligence, has much to do with how children grow and succeed. These skills, including self-awareness, self-control, empathy, the ability to wait (delayed gratification), the ability to listen, cooperate, share, and work well with others, are better predictors of adult success and happiness than traditional IQ scores. Clinical psychologist and author Daniel Goleman makes two important assertions that parents may not find surprising. He reports on new research showing that children whose emotional intelligence skills are well-developed tend to be more successful at school, have deeper and healthier relationships, grow up to have more fulfilling work lives, and become valuable, contributing members of their communities. Goleman’s second assertion is that these skills can be taught. Children can learn and practice these qualities under the guidance of thoughtful and aware adults, including parents, teachers, and youth leaders of all sorts. The importance of this assertion is hard to overemphasize. Parents have long tried to teach courtesy and politeness to their children, but were never sure their teaching could overcome inborn capabilities. Certain life skills seemed innate in kids – like the traditional IQ, children seemed to be born with certain levels of ability in these areas. Parents and teachers assumed that the patience children display naturally is probably most of the patience they can muster, or that they are good or bad sharers, gentle friends or playground bullies from birth. A group of researchers, led by Howard Gardner, a psychologist at the Harvard School of Education, have proven otherwise. They have shown that thoughtful teaching, conversation, modeling, and practice can develop and nurture these skills, especially when that teaching is consistent throughout a child’s day and year. There are ways to help kids grow up to be the happy and productive people parents hope they will be. And summer camp is a vital part of the puzzle. Real Challenges Build Resilience The best-kept secret in American education is that great camps have been teaching emotional intelligence since they began. Besides their long years of practice in this arena, camps have another edge. Because c a m p s a r e f r e e of t h e d e m a n d s of (continued on following page) PETROVBALLET a dance studio in the classical tradition Ballet • Pointe • Character • Stretch Partnered Adagio • Adult Classes • Boys Class Accepting students of all levels from age 5 through adults 2009 Summer Training Program Register Now for June 22 - August 28 For information & enrollment, please visit our website: or contact us: 201-445-4499 • Email: 134 Hopper Ave, Waldwick, NJ 07463 4-22-09 kathy/janine PetroBallet3x3(4-22-09) 3 x 3”