Teaching Kids Resilience Through Emotional Intelligence

Linda Lantieri on her mission to cultivate the inner lives of students, teachers, and schools.

Peace corner in second grade classroom in East Harlem. Photograph by Carolina Kroon

Linda Lantieri has been nurturing emotional resilience in teachers and students for several decades. In the mid-1980s, Lantieri co-founded a learning initiative: the Resolving Conflict Creatively Program. The program was developed to help create nurturing communities of learning that improve academic success while preventing violence in schools. The program was embraced around the country and is now the largest and longest running school program in the U.S.

“Our kids are facing such adversity at different times in their lives, are we really teaching kids to weather the storm?” says Lantieri, “In the U.S. I’m sorry to say, 1 out of 5 kids growing up wind up having a mental disorder. There’s got to be something wrong with a culture that raises kids where 1 out of 5 of them is not emotionally healthy at the age of 17. Pretty sad.”

Lantieri is seeing how teaching kids and teachers resilience and how to feel safe at school is having an effect, from something as simple as having mindful meeting times once a week, or a peace corner in each classroom, or having principles look at their leadership style.

Shortly after 9/11, Lantieri saw how educators were struggling to keep the…