How’s your Emotional Literacy?

Many years ago I started this journey that led me to Emotional Literacy…

In the beginning, before we started Monty Bear, all I wanted to do was to help my own child.

She wasn’t coping on many different levels. She was only five years old, but she knew, and we knew, that emotionally life would be tough for her. What most of us took for granted as innate – the ability to quickly learn and navigate our feelings and friendships and understand social and emotional cues, was tough for her. For her it was like everyone belonged to a club she didn’t know how to get into or what the rules were.

As parents we had unsuccessfully tried to discover the underlying cause (more on that subject in another blog). We had then tried to find the ‘magic solution’ that would make it all go away and ‘fix her’. But the more ‘magic solutions’ we tried the more we realized there was not a one-size fits all solution. Nor was there a quick fix for a child that struggled with change, that had low self-esteem and had trouble self-regulating.

That’s when frustration set in…

You see the truth of the matter was that we, as her parents, were really lost and struggling too. As parents we struggled with our own preconceived ideas about our child, our own upbringing, parenting ideals, society, school, professionals, labels and then ultimately our own insecurities.

This was one of my many ‘aha!’ moments. As I struggled to find the tools to help my child, I realized that it was equally important to find the tools to help myself. I needed to be open, to learn, to do a bit of naval gazing and self evaluation about my own Emotional Literacy. I researched and read and asked lots of questions from everyone. My conclusion was that there was a need for practical tools for kids and an easier way for parents to find information than what i had been through! Which is why this blog will be an important resource for you in the weeks to come. I will be writing about various issues, posting relevant articles and compiling lots of resources for us to share.

 I knew I had to share Monty Bear with a wider audience…

The other important part of my journey was to start the conversation with a wider audience.

When we launched Monty Bear I had no idea if there would be an audience out there for these issues. My motivation was purely personal. But as we began our journey and as I talked more openly to friends and parents of the children I taught, I realized that we were not alone. There were more of ‘us’ than I had thought. There were other families that were struggling with their own version of what it was like to raise a child that needed some extra help with their emotions and concept of self.

Opportunity knocked a few weeks ago when we were invited to exhibit at The Boutique Fairs Singapore, www.boutiquefairs.com.sg. As the date approached my anxiety levels grew. I was worried that no-one would get it, that all they would see was a book, a bear, a backpack.

How wrong was I?!

I was overwhelmed by how many of  ‘us’ there are. Parents that are trying to do the best by their kids, struggling to know where to begin and struggling to know how to help their kids. Whether you have the child that appears hyper or aggressive and find it hard to self-regulate at school and is always getting into trouble; or you have the highly anxious, shy child that has trouble with confidence; or the child that has trouble making friends even though she appears very happy and sociable; or a high functioning child with anxiety issues that hides their fears from the rest of the world extremely well but dumps it all on you in the privacy of your own home. We all have children that need extra help with their emotional literacy and this is the whole purpose behind Monty Bear.

As I met and talked with people, some parents where almost on the edge of tears at the relief and joy of finding someone they could talk to and would get it, without judgement.

And I do get it!

This is how I felt on our journey with our child – confused, upset, overwhelmed, but also very silent (more on this in a future blog). It was really an amazing time for me at the Fair because there were parents, lots of them, that could relate. Our kids might all be different, with different needs and on different journeys, but there was a community of ‘us’ out there!

I am so glad to have found you wonderful parents that I have met in schools, socially and now in the wider community. The brave, wonderful parents that are being the best advocates for their children. We need to continue to teach our kids all about Emotional Literacy.

This is the place to start. It is my hope that this blog will be a forum for discussion and sharing. A place where we can form a community of like-minded souls that can safely ask questions and seek clarification. So please share your stories if you are feeling brave, make a comment or ask a question.

Embrace the journey,

Belinda. x

Welcome

Hello and welcome to Monty Bear.

Hopefully if you are visiting this page you have either bought a Monty Bear package or are thinking about it, so thank you! This is a new adventure for all of us and we are so grateful for your support.

Allow me to introduce myself and tell you a little bit about who we are and what we are about. I’m using the royal ‘we’ of course, as whilst Monty Bear is a collaboration of three friends, this blog will be just me writing, pontificating and trying to bring relevant articles to your attention, about the topics we are passionate about.

I tend to ramble… I think that is why Bec thought I’d be good at this!

To focus when writing these blog posts and not go off on a tangent, I am going to stick to our two main passions – Positive Education and International Mindedness. Literacy in the Early Years, permeates everything we do and so will inevitably feature often and be written about with great passion.

A little more about me than what’s on the website, www.montybear.com.au. I have been an early year’s teacher for twenty years and in that time, I have been passionate about education and working with children. I have worked in every school setting imaginable and learnt something from every experience. However, not one of these experiences was as amazing (or such a learning curve), as being a mother. My kids have introduced me to so much, taught me to view life from another perspective and challenged me more often than not! It was only when one of my own children experienced a life changing event and we as a family where all challenged to be more resilient and embrace change, that I consider my true passion became apparent to me.

As a mum, I was not happy with the advice or support I was getting to help my child and so I decided to find out the facts myself and the ways I could support her more. One of the areas of most interest to me was addressing her emotional and social needs. I began to read and find out about growth mindset, Mindfulness and Positive Education.

The interest in International Mindedness is a by-product of living abroad as an expat for most of my adult life and then bringing my children to Singapore to experience the same lifestyle. In my teaching and my travels, my eyes have been opened and my perceptions challenged and changed. I have been lucky enough to witness this with the children I teach and then with my own children. International Mindedness is so important for all children, regardless of where they live or their socio-economic background. But more on this topic later….

These events inspired me to write the Monty Bear books – a true and deep appreciation of children and a fire in my belly to empower them to embrace change and retain as much of their self as they possibly can in their journey through life.

You see I do ramble!

In the following posts, I am going to try and break down for you what Positive Education and International Mindedness is. Along the way I will share with you the joys and hiccups of self-publishing and the journey it has been for us to get to this point of our Monty Bear concept.

We hope you enjoy the posts and learn a little about us and the concepts behind the Monty Bear Series along the way.

Happy Reading!

B