Why Emotional Intelligence Matters

Posted: 19th March 2021

Emotional Intelligence – The Big Five

As part of my reading for the Dukes Education Senior Leadership Program, I have been particularly interested in the concept of Emotional Intelligence (EI) and found it has real resonance in the preparation of the adult for our work with children.

Upon reading, it quickly became apparent that many of the traits required to be a successful business leader are the same as the qualities needed to be an outstanding early years educator. It is no coincidence that in a Montessori environment we typically describe our classroom leaders as guides or directors of the children.

There are five main components of Emotional Intelligence and some experts even suggest that it can be more important than IQ for an individual’s overall success in life. So, what is it comprised of?


Aristotle recognised that, “Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom”. Early years educators need a good understanding of themselves. They need to recognise and reflect on their particular strengths and weaknesses, as this will allow them to develop as individuals and guides.


When dealing with children who are learning to self-regulate, it is a vital skill for the adult to model that regulation of their emotions. Mastering this skill allows for a balanced approach when dealing with daily situations.


As an early years educator you need to consider yourself as a life long learner and seize every opportunity to develop and grow as an individual. The educator’s continuous learning journey therefore significantly improves the quality of the child’s own journey.


Once self-awareness is achieved, the ability to empathise with children, parents and other educators is essential. Being able to see things from other people’s perspective is critical for building strong, trusting relationships and a harmonious community.

Social skills

The early years setting is extremely sociable by nature and so the ability to communicate effectively and find joy in each other’s company is paramount. Our happiness and stability are often inextricably linked to those around us and this could not be more true when it comes to children.

Now more than ever, I am aware that Emotional Intelligence must be at the heart of everything we do, both inside and outside of the classroom, to cultivate and maintain an environment where children and adults alike can thrive.

Categories: Principal's Blog