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The Heart-Mind Index
The Heart-Mind Index (HMI) is a survey instrument which gathers data to give information on children's social and emotional well-being. Students in Kindergarten in New Westminster schools were found to be as or more capable on a variety of social and emotional skills as their provincial counterparts.
In February of the Kindergarten year, Kindergarten teachers use the HMI to determine student strengths and competencies typified through the five Heart-Mind Index Domains:
Gets Along With Others - The ability to form positive and healthy relationships with peers and adults. Children with better abilities to regulate their emotions and behaviours have more friends and experience more positive playtime with their peers.
Compassionate and Kind - Closely related to empathy. While empathy refers more generally to the ability to take the perspective of and to feel the emotions of another person, compassion goes one step further. Compassion includes the desire to take actions that will alleviate another person's distress.
Alert and Engaged - The ability to manage and direct one's own feelings, thoughts and emotions. In general, the ability to be 'present' and to exercise self-control.
Secure and Calm - The ability to take part in daily activities and approach new situations without being overwhelmed with worries, sadness or anxiety. Children who are secure and calm are able to express their needs, and are more often than not, comfortable in one-on-one and group social settings.
Solves Problems Peacefully - The ability to behave in a peaceful and respectful way in a variety of situations and relationships. Generally, children who solve problems peacefully can manage their emotions and impulses.
The Heart-Mind Index maps the skills of Kindergarten students onto the New Westminster neighbourhoods in which they live. Teachers and administrators use the information gathered to target programs and skills teaching to ensure every child develops their social and emotional skills along with their cognitive and physical skills. We want our children to develop their whole potential! To see the results for each neighbourhood in our city, please click here.
Students with strong social and emotional skills improve their achievement results in school and are well positioned for employment, where employers want people with good teamwork skills.