The team at Kids College has always been forward thinking and has always searched for more opportunities and more professional development. We are not resting on our Exceeding quality rating, we are actively improving day by day to create better and better outcomes for the children entrusted into our care. We are experts in the area of social emotional intelligence and are actively seeking out more ways to strenghten our teaching practices.

We came into contact with Yale University’s RULER approach through St marks Anglican and Community school and it has proven to be an amazing approach that we are proud to say we are wholeheartedly supporting.

The RULER approach is truly uniquethat is being implemented in America and we have only two schools in Australia who are using this approach. We are very proud to be the pioneers and we are the very first childcare in Australiato use the RULER approach. Indeed we are the second childcare in the world, as only one childcare connected to Yale University is currently using this approach. This approach is whole school approach which means it spans children’s entire school career and is usable in each age group as each steps builds on from previous learning.

Our task was to amend this approach to our early childhood education setting in Australia and we measured the results with our Respect, reflect relate study.

We measured our predictor variable, Relationships with the outcome variable, wellbeing. We saw an improved connection between the children and their educators and we saw an improvement in the wellbeing of the children proving that RULER approach is increasing outcomes for children and families.


Kids College, experts in social emotional learning.

Over our nine year history Kids College has grown and developed a very high level of strength in social emotional teaching. We are building on our focus of social emotional intelligenceat Kids College and the programs that we already are involved with; Building Brains, PALS, Kimochi’s, Connections and the Be You initiative. Our next step in our professional development and commitment to continuous quality improvement was a natural progression to the RULER approach. It is a quick and simple approach to social and emotional learning that leads to emotional literacy, which we are enjoying implementing and experimenting with. 

First step in our journey into the RULER approach is professional development for our staffing team. Jennifer and Craig attended the only RULER seminar in Australia run by Marc Brackett from Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence held in Melbourne in March 2017, to become RULER approach practitioners and lead our team in their learning journey.

At Kids College the children are not the only ones who are learning. Our focus on learning extends to our staffing team led by our Educational Leader and Manager. Kids College fosters a culture of professional inquiry to ensure we are all the very best educators and teachers we can be. We ensure our continual improvement by our involvement in professional development 

Kids College professional development values incorporate the socio cultural learning ideals of Lev Vygotskycreating a strong team with a shared community of practice. One of our fist steps was to explore the emotions vocabulary. It is actually surprisingly difficult to explain some of them. What is the difference between envy and jealously? We then created our own Staffing Charter of values we as a Kids College family hold dear. 


The four anchor tools in RULER approach are:-

1, Charterwhich is a mission statement designed collaboratively on the shard feelings valued in the classroom to identify behaviours and guidelines to create the happy classroom we envisioned.

  1. Mood meteris a self –awareness tool that helps to identify feelings, build awareness, emotion vocabulary, set goals and strategize.
  2. Meta-momentis a process to improve reflective practices and self-regulation that recognize triggers and cultivates one’s “best self”.
  3. Blueprintis a problem solving tool for interpersonal situations that builds empathy and reduces conflict and bullying


Emotional literacythat we are teaching refers to an individual’s attitudes, knowledge and expertise regarding five key emotion areas of the RULER approach:- 

Recognizingemotions in self and others,

Understandingthe causes and consequences of emotions,

Labelingemotions accurately

Expressing emotions appropriately

Regulatingemotions effectively


One of our first steps in teaching our children was to create our own mood meter to teach the children how to label their emotions. The full mood meter encompasses a wide range of emotions tracked against energy and pleasantness. We combined our Kimochi’s characters to align with the mood meter so our children would understand them easier with the familiar prompts of the Kimochi characters and emotions that we have used for years now and simplified it down to four base emotions, mad, sad, brave and happy. . By combining mood meter with Kimochi’s we have scaffolding children’s  learning from something familiar to assist them to understand something new

We view our teachers as performers and guides knowing each child and supporting that child to learn more through our relationships together and our interactions. This speaks of Vygotsky’s zone of proximal development whereby teachers scaffold children’s learning and allow them to move from what they can achieve themselves to extend that learning with the right assistance from us at the right time.

We believe in Piaget’s views of a cross curricular program based in project work that develops the whole child. RULER approach is not another set of lessons, it is embedded into the fabric of who we are and is linked in to our every day interactions with our children and our families.  We match to each child’s needs, interests and abilities viewing children as competent capable learners assisting them through assimilation and accommodation to learn new information.


Our mood meter still keeps to the four quadrants of emotions but simplifies the emotions to just four, mad, sad, brave and happy to start with. From the early stages of recognizing and labeling emotions we extended our approach to designing a simple classroom charter. The classroom charter is not a rules list, it is a set of ideals to strive for to create a happy classroom. We started with very simple phrases and then went on to develop a more informative charter including our Kimochi characters with the simple text.


From here we are teaching the children to learn how to appropriately react to their emotions through the ‘meta-moment, which means they take a moment to choose how to react to emotions and manage their responses appropriately. Think of yourself being cut off in traffic. How do you react? How do you want to react? Hopefully you choose an appropriate reaction, but how did you learn these controls in the first place? What makes us count to ten to calm down? Someone somewhere taught us all this and in todays age of technology sadly social emotional intelligence and skills are on the decline.


We developed three charts that have visual and written suggestions on how to appropriately choose to react while we are emotional. We worked collaboratively with the children and came up with the suggestions together. These charts are put up where the children can easily see and use them and we can see the children referring to these charts and acting on them. This is a massive leap forward as we have seen how the children can recognize, understand, label, express and regulate their emotions. There are suggestion for all different types of children and they are empowered to make their own choices. In this way each child is supported to regulate their own behaviour, respond appropriately to the behaviour of others and communicate effectively to resolve conflicts. 

We then move into the blueprint phase, which builds empathy and problem solving techniques. We are weaving the feelings vocabulary through the program to identify and label our emotions.


Modern children need expressly being taught the art of social emotional intelligence

Our modern children need us to expressly teach them these social emotional skills, just like we teach the three R’s, reading, writing and arithmetic, as the saying goes.

Nobel Laureate, James Heckman, has written that the greatest returns on education investments are “from nurturing children’s non-cognitive skills. Giving them social, emotional and behavioral benefits that lead to success late in life…” (Heckman & Masterov, 2004)

Kids College vision is to increase emotional intelligence and emotional literacy that stands as a solid base for all future learning.


Measuring our success with the RULER approach through the Respect, Reflect, Relate study



To measure our previous quality position and to measure any changes experienced by implementing the RULER approach we have used the Respect, Reflect and Relate (RRR)resource to guide us in attaining an actual measure of difference as a before and after picture.

The Observation scales in RRR comprise of two predictor variables – Relationshipsand Active learning, and two outcomes variables – Wellbeing and Involvement.

In other words, the quality of the relationship between educator and children and the level of educators engagement in children’s learning are predictors of quality, while the level of the children’s wellbeing and involvement in their learning are seen as outcomes of quality.


The observation scales are designed to assess the overall quality of relationships and the learning environment and overall levels of children’s involvement and wellbeing rather than serving as an assessment of individual children or educators. This gives us the perfect way of actually measuring the quality of our early childhood setting.

We measured our predictor variable, Relationships with the outcome variable, wellbeing. We saw an improved connection between the children and their educators and we saw an improvement in the wellbeing of the children.


Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological systems theory


Ecological systems theory places child development in an ecological perspective, in which an individual’s experience is at the centre, within a nested interconnected systems (Bronfenbrenner, 1989). What this theory means, is that no child is an island alone. Each child needs to be seen as a whole child with varying outside influences to take into account. This really highlighted to us the truth of Bronfenbrenner’s beliefs involving ‘how a child requires progressively more complex joint activity with one or more adults who have an irrational, emotional, relationship with the child.

Somebody’s got to be crazy about that kid. That’s number one. First, last and always’ (National Scientific Council on the Developing Child, 2004, p. 12)


We were also clearly able to see the level of children’s wellbeing that indicated how well our environment is succeeding in helping children develop trust and confidence, a sense of belonging, self-knowledge, and good emotional health, freeing children to participate in their curriculum learning with vitality and enjoyment.

It is as simple as saying the more the children arelovedthe more they develop their sense of wellbeingand their capacity for learningexplodes.

At Kids College we are very proud and feel very privileged to be able to work with children during the most important time in their lives and to help create a stable base for their future learning. 


Recommendation from Teresa, who we have worked with to implement the RULER approach.

Healthy children grow from a strong foundation of positive wellbeing and healthy emotional regulation. It is this belief that we ensure that there is consistency for a child to develop resilience, emotional intelligence and a growth mindset. St Mark’s Anglican Community School has developed a strong connection with the Kids College to encourage to build strong skills in building healthy relationships with themselves, their family and their school. I have met with Jennifer on a number of occasions to discuss the merit of our School’s positive education program as St Mark’s adopted the RULER approach to a whole school pastoral care philosophy. Emotional wellbeing underpins our approach. 

I have been very impressed with Kids College approach to positive education and when in their rooms of learning, I can see that carers and children have been setting up their own charters to ensure they are taking care of themselves and others. The focus is on identifying, building and implementing strengths and less focus on fixing problems or weaknesses. Parents need consistency of language when helping their children grow and this is apparent in the children when they interact with others. My granddaughter, who attends Kids College, is familiar with ‘think before you act’ or ‘take a moment to think’ (metamoment). Building healthy relationships is a key point of both Kids College and St Mark’s and it is a privilege to work with Jennifer implementing this development of flourishing children.



Assistant Principal, Pastoral (retired) and proudly have two grandchildren who attend Kids College Childcare

We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.  Maya Angelou




At Kids College Childcare we work each day embedding our values and philosophy into each facet of what we do. We continually improve our practices by critically reflecting and engaging in meaningful relationships with our community and for this we need your support and input.

Make sure to follow Kids College Childcare on facebook, watch for our regular emails and keep an eye on our Kids College website. Join our Kids College family community and share in our vision of creating the very best childcare where children experience love, laughter and learning every day. You can reach us on



5.2.2  Each child is supported to regulate their own behaviour, respond appropriately to the behaviour of others and communicate effectively to resolve conflicts.

7.2.1.There is an effective self-assessment and quality improvement process in place.



‘We aim to support children’s overall sense of wellbeing and increase their emotional intelligence through the love and dedication each of their own unique learning journeys.’

‘We value our collaborative partnerships with professional, community and research organisations and enjoy playing an active role in shaping the future of early childhood education.’







Proud to display our Exceeding Childcare Centre Award



Our practice is shaped by meaningful engagement with our families and community. If you could add something to our program, come up with great ideas, or know of resources or people we can contact could please send us an email on as we really do value your input.

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