We are a recent social enterprise (June 2020) bootstrapped with volunteer work. We are already financially sustainable. We have space for one partner that shares the same vision of educating today the leaders of the future.
Our vision and mission
Our vision is a better world, where today's children are tomorrow's leaders and have high emotional intelligence with the character traits that stem from it: teamwork, courage, honesty, empathy, resilience, gratitude, and social and environmental responsibility.
To get there, our mission is to teach children to recognize their emotions, understand the reason, and get their needs met; and also to help parents and teachers create a space to talk about emotions with their children.
Our first goal is children's happiness.
You can find all about us by clicking on the headings of this page. If you have any questions or feel that something is missing, please contact us.
Before the pandemic, 20% of children had low emotional awareness, which is one of the risk factors for anxiety (32% correlation) and depression (40% correlation) (Kranzler et al., 2016). These problems have been increasing: anxiety and depression rose 50% between 2003 and 2007 (Center for Disease Control) and the situation worsened with the pandemic (Barnardos, 2020): in the first year of covid, 25% of children experienced elevated depression symptoms and 20% experienced elevated anxiety symptoms (Racine et al, 2021).
It is a social-emotional learning (SEL) program that teaches children about their feelings, develops social and emotional skills, promotes emotional awareness and intelligence, and improves the mental health of 4-7 year old children, from kindergarten to 4th grade.
The innovation in the program is having videos for today's digital native children. We also have songs, debating suggestions for adults to start a conversation with children, and printable arts and crafts activities.
All the characters in the videos are puppets and the main character is Surfeel.
Each session takes between 10 minutes and 1 hour to complete. All the content is online. Families and schools can use The Feelings Detective autonomosly, flexibily, and and their own pace.
Fortunately, many initiatives are working on this problem. They fall roughly in two groups:
- Training and professional development of educators, for example the RULER program from the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, which takes one year of training teachers and schools. These in-person programs are effective and based on science but take time and significant resources to implement with teacher and school training.
- Videos and movies that cover emotions, such as Sesame Workshop and Inside Out. These digital video programs scale easily but miss the human relationship that is at the heart of emotional intelligence.
Our solution uses the best of both approaches:
- it is scalable because most content is digital and we use the internet to distribute videos and songs;
- it is effective because our users are teachers and parents, who show our content to children and it becomes a common language to talk about emotions.
A perfect example is the story one mother told us. Her 4-year old daughter was riding a bicycle and stopped in front of a slope. The mother mentioned episode 6, where Wisecrack feels afraid of waves, names his emotions, and the fear no longer controls him. The child followed the same steps, felt relief, and cycled down the slope.
We use the scalability of digital communications over the internet and the effectiveness of personal communications within the family or the school. Children learn by analogy with the tangible examples in the stories and thanks to personal communication with adults. Our innovative method is both digital and human, artistic and scientific, entertaining and educational.
We are a social enterprise and our first priority is to solve the problems due to low emotional intelligence among children (read more).
Our business model is "freemium" and "direct-to-consumer" subscriptions: we grant free access to the first 4 sessions and sell monthly or yearly access to the full program.
Our clients are families and schools (both private and public) with children aged 4-7.
We contribute mainly to:
- goal 4 of quality education, because emotional intelligence improves academic achievement by 11 percentile points (Durlak et al., 2011);
- goal 3 of health and well-being, because emotional intelligence has a 50% correlation with mental health and 27% with physical health (Martins et al., 2010); and because emotional intelligence has highly positive consequences, improving interpersonal relationships, group cohesion, and emotional well-being (Brackett et al., 2006).
In the long term, we also hope to contribute to:
- goal 8 of economic growth and decent work, because 47% of jobs are at risk of automation and of disappearing (Frey and Osborne, 2013) and the jobs of the future are those that an algorithm and robot cannot do, i.e. based on empathy and emotional intelligence;
- goal 12 of responsible consumption and production, because the correlation between consumption and happiness is low (0.2, Veenhooven e Vergunst, 2014) and we anticipate that children with emotional intelligence will, as adults, find happiness inside themselves without needing frenetic consumption and will not put pressure on the planet's resources.
Our theory of change, in an abridged format, is:
- our stakeholders are families or schools with children aged 4-7
- the problem is the low emotional awareness in 17% of children (learn more)
- one cause is the lack of emotional education in schools and in families
- our activity is a series of videos to watch and listen as a family or in the classroom (learn more about the solution)
- our output is the number of registered families or schools
- our outcome is the improvement in emotional intelligence of children (measured by the Levels of Emotional Awareness Scale)
- our impact in children is better education (measured by school results), health, work prospects, and happiness in life, in line with Sustainable Development Goals 4, 3, 12, and 8 (learn more)
- our short-term metric is an internet survey of registered families or schools with the main question being "Would you be very disappointed if you could no longer use our children's series?" (the standard measure of product-market fit).
- our monitoring is a pilot project in schools with random allocation and measurement of school results, levels of emotional awareness in children, and change in behaviour from interviews with parents or teachers (the project leader has a PhD and experience in randomized controlled trials, e.g. this proposal with ethics approval)
- our risks are mainly financial (if we don't generate enough revenue to become sustainable) and attrition (if families drop out of the program), both of which we can and do quantify.
Our policy for equality, diversity, and inclusion rests on the following points.
We insist on gender parity both in the team and in our videos.
We follow practices from academic research (the project lead studied the economic impacts of discrimination): for example, we ask job candidates to omit the name on resumes to avoid cultural bias; for voice artists, we do interviews only with audio to avoid a bias of physical appearance.
Inside the team, we privilege sharing emotions and vulnerability, for example: we start and finish each meeting with a round of sharing our feelings in the moment, which creates psychological safety for teamwork and also helps deal with difficulties before they become problems.