Emotional Intelligence: The Hidden Key to a Healthy Life

Emotions drive learning, decision-making, creativity, relationships, and health. By becoming aware of and managing their emotions, students are better set up to succeed at a high level with their academic efforts and in their relationships. At Gateway, we’ve integrated the RULER approach to teaching emotional intelligence (developed at the Yale University Center for Emotional Intelligence) through the use of four Anchor Tools:

The Mood Meter

This easy-to-use visual tool helps people develop the core RULER skills: Recognizing, Understanding, Labeling, Expressing, and Regulating emotions. Children are given daily opportunities to identify where they are at any moment along the axis of energy (from low to high) and pleasantness (from low to high). This helps students develop a language for talking about their feelings, and ties the actual feeling in their bodies to the feelings in their minds. Children become confident talking about feeling anxious, tranquil, and curious, and also begin learning to manage and self-regulate their feelings.

Class Charters

Our students collaborate to develop guidelines that establish supportive and productive learning environments. We focus on how we aspire to treat each other, how we want to feel at school, the behaviors that foster those feelings, and how we’ll solve conflicts and what we’ll do to resolve problems. By working together to build the Charter, our students establish common goals and hold each other accountable for creating a positive classroom climate. We also extend the Charter concept to the adults in our community; our faculty and staff have a charter for how the work environment, and our Board of Trustees is in process of creating one to guide their work together.


The Meta-Moment is a tool for self-reflection and intention that helps students make better decisions by providing a framework for handling strong emotions. Structured as a series of six steps, the Meta-Moment asks students to pause, step back, and think before acting. By asking ourselves “How would my best self react in this situation” and “what strategies can I use”, students develop productive responses that empower them when faced with challenges. This tool gives students a concrete approach to making better choices and experiencing greater well-being.


Many approaches to conflict resolution focus on what happened, to the detriment of how the individuals involved actually felt. The Blueprint guides children to consider a disagreement from both their own and the other person’s perspective. By considering each other’s feelings, children experience empathy for the other participants, and become better positioned to collaborate in finding healthy solutions to the conflict at hand. The Blueprint is a powerful tool for repairing relationships and creating safe, productive school environments.

EQ is a key element of SEL

Emotional Intelligence (EQ) is just one of the ways we are teaching Social/Emotional Learning (SEL) competencies. SEL includes the development of self-awareness, the ability to self-manage, the ability to take the perspective of others and empathize, the ability to develop healthy relationships, and responsible decision-making. Read more about our Whole Child Approach to Education here.