Understanding emotions from facial expressions
Why is this important?
Facial expressions are the way we understand how others feel. They communicate essential information to the listener and are a fundamental part of social understanding. Being able to read and describe emotions in others helps in the development of emotional intelligence.
What to do
- Collect together pictures from catalogues/magazines or photographs of faces showing emotions (e.g. a baby crying, a scared child, a happy clown, a surprised lady).
- Put out the pictures and talk about the different emotions, e.g. ‘Look, the girl is scared. What could she be scared of? Maybe a big dog or a ride at the fair?’
- Demonstrate a ‘scared’ face and ask the child to copy.
- Try this for all four emotions – ‘happy’, ‘sad’, ‘scared’, ‘surprised’.
- Put out the four pictures and ask the child to point to: ‘Who’s surprised?’ ‘Who’s happy?’
- As you share books, talk about how people are feeling and why