As society becomes more and more interested in human emotional development, and as concept of emotional intelligence gains more and more popularity, there is also a rising question of educational part within the school context and care for children social-emotional development. Children already start to develop their social-emotional competency in kindergarten and this is why it is important to start enhancing it then and continue to do so with a start of schooling. Use of creative media for enhancing social-emotional competency is especially suitable for young children, because they most often find them attractive and learn through experience and play at the same time. Working with young children, art activities are especially suitable as an indirect media of communication regarding the fact that they are undergoing the process of speech and vocabulary development.
The main purpose of the thesis was to research in what ways is enhancing social-emotional competency of children in earlier grades included in school and what importance regarding this does the educational staff attribute to creative media and visual arts. The theoretical part of the thesis explores the role and assignments of the school at enhancing overall development of children and continues with detailed discussion of the term social-emotional competency. Furthermore, the thesis explores the developmental aspect of social-emotional competency and concludes with the topic of creative media and detailed presentation of visual arts as a tool for enhancing social-emotional competency of school children.
The empirical part of the thesis is based on a qualitative study. It includes purposeful sampling with eight participants from four primary schools- from each school one teacher and one school counselor. In the second part of empirical section, there were five workshops executed with one student within the school counseling services, using visual arts with the purpose of expressing his life situation.
Findings of the study show that participants perceive area of social-emotional competency as important. Teachers say they deal with social-emotional competency of children sufficiently. However, school counselors say that they do not deal with this area enough, mainly because they do not have enough time, they either have too much work or are too busy with other work assignments. All participants use conversation as a main method of work or as a main activity for enhancing social-emotional competency. Despite recognizing some advantages of using creative media and visual arts participants mainly do not use them. Teachers use them exclusively for the purpose of school lesson where the use of creative media is planned in advance, but school counselors on the other hand do not use them at all, mainly because they do not feel competent enough for its application or simply because they do not have affinity towards them. Working with a child individually within art workshops resulted in a very positive experience and it contributed to a faster establishment of working relationship. It also served as a tool for non-threatening conversation and enabled him to express his life situation. Taking into consideration the effects of the workshops on a child, it would make sense to execute them continuously.
Findings of the study also show it would make sense to introduce trainings, where creative media and possibility of its use would be presented to educational staff in a more detailed way, and enable the space to express themselves creatively and explore their own interests further at the same time. Such trainings would result in educational staff gaining the better knowledge of creative media, use them more frequently and apply them more skillfully into their work with students.