Emotional Awareness for Children

A new approach to provide emotional skills for children

emotional awareness

Emotional Awareness for Children

July 11, 2018

A human experience

We are the only creatures capable of attaching words to memories, anticipations, and plans; it is this unique ability that also allows us to think about emotional experiences, real or imagined, that we may not be feeling at that very moment. In its earliest stages, this is what emotional awareness looks and feels like.

When emotions meet awareness

While very young children don’t have the ability to practice emotional awareness themselves (yet), these emotional skills start forming once a sufficient vocabulary is formed. From here, a child will begin to consider, plan, anticipate, remember and even re-experience emotions for the first time in his or her young life.

Building emotional skills for children

Working to empower our youngest generation, my daughter, Eve M. Ekman, PhD, is extending our interactive Atlas of Emotions tool specifically to help enhance their vocabulary and understanding of emotions.

What We Need

We are looking for $150,000 in funding.

  • $90,000 for product design including ideation, prototyping, A/B testing, iteration, buildout, testing, deployment, and Internationalization to translate our written content into other languages.
  • $60,000 for content creation from experts in Social Emotional Learning and Education, Developmental Psychology, and Children’s Illustration and Design


A note from Dr. Eve Ekman: 

Why an Atlas for Children?

The Children’s Atlas of Emotions will focus primarily on the social and emotional learning needs of children from ages 8-12 years old. This age range is a precious time in development of connection and relationships- where the fundamentals of emotional communication can be formed for a lifetime.

Our current Atlas of Emotions has reached hundreds of thousands of people and we hope our Children’s Atlas of Emotions will exceed this count. To maximize our impact, we are developing partnerships with universities and educational institutions to provide the greatest reach and breadth for this project.

The Children’s Atlas of Emotions will be fundamentally different from the original Atlas of Emotions in two ways:

  1. The Children’s Atlas of Emotions will be an interactive and engaging platform where in addition to learning new emotion vocabulary kids can safely share emotional experiences to build empathy and connection. For example, if a kid using the Children’s Atlas of Emotions is feeling worried about starting a new school year, or excited about an upcoming family trip, they can share this and see how many others are feeling the same this day or week or month represented in visually engaging info maps.
  2. The Children’s Atlas of Emotions will include relational activities for kids to use with peers and parents alike. This paired activity will show us the differences in how we share and interpret the emotions of those around us by providing the language for expressing emotions and activities to decode what they mean.

Our Children’s Atlas of Emotions will feature the same taxonomy of emotion words from the current atlas but will add in new content specific to the social and emotional learning goals of children ages 8 to 12.

Here’s what we are looking forward to:

  • Examples of Emotional Episodes on topics common for kids such as bullying/ harassment, feeling pride/ accomplishment, unfairness
  • An Emotion-O-Meter which uses different colors and textures to explore our internal emotional state
  • A parent- child relational tool that allows kids to describe how they witness their parents emotions and vice-versa
  • Global mapping tool that allows kids to report their emotions that day and see what other children are feeling all over the world
  • Media offering simple ways for children to work with hard emotions based in mindfulness

Other Ways You Can Help

  • Share this campaign page with others: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/help-create-an-atlas-of-emotions-for-children#/
  • Start a fundraiser at your school or local community center


Our team for this project has a proven track record in developing impactful educational content:

Dr. Paul Ekman is best known for his work studying facial expressions and emotion. In 2009, Dr. Ekman was named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by TIME Magazine. In 2014, Dr. Ekman ranked fifteenth among the most influential psychologists of the 21st century. Dr. Ekman has written more than 14 books and 170 published articles. He as well worked as a key advisor for Pixar’s Inside Out.

Dr. Eve Ekman is the Director of Training at the Greater Good Science Center and emotional trainer among her multitude of experiences designing and developing live and online trainings in mindfulness for health care and the private sector. Eve is also a founding teacher trainer for Cultivating Emotional Balance, an evidenced-based program drawing on Western Scientific and Eastern Contemplative teachings to develop constructive emotional behaviors for a meaningful life.

Paul Ekman is a well-known psychologist and co-discoverer of micro expressions. He was named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by TIME magazine in 2009. He has worked with many government agencies, domestic and abroad. Dr. Ekman has compiled over 50 years of his research to create comprehensive training tools to read the hidden emotions of those around you.

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