Frequently Asked Questions

What is "The Feelings Guru"?

It is a social-emotional learning (SEL) programme 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 nursery to 4th grade.

The innovation in the programme is having videos for today's digital native children. We also have songs, discussion 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 Bulgy.

Each session takes between 10 minutes and 1 hour to complete. All the content is online. Families and schools can use The Feelings Guru autonomosly, flexibily, and and their own pace.


Who implements the programme?
The programme is implemented by psychologists, teachers or educators at the school, without training. We do not implement the programme ourselves because children develop their emotional intelligence better when they learn from the people they are closest to.

Is the cost per child, per class or per school?

Our prices are per "login", which is an account associated with an email address. The "login" is free and gives you access to 1 episode without needing to pay. For the remaining 17 sessions, we sell full access associated with that "login"; see more at the plans page.


Can I try it for free?

Yes you can. We are so confident that you will like the program that has a free session forever if you subscribe here. If you want more sessions, we offer a free and no-strings-attached pilot project, where for two weeks you and your school can access part of our digital content. To benefit, please collect the contact information of those who will trial the project, choose a start date, and send us this information by email.


How long does each session last?

Each session consists of a video, a song, a choreography for the song, in conversation suggestions, and a manual activity. Some sessions also have a true story.

In the 1st cycle, sessions usually last 45 minutes to 1 hour and consist. In preschool, educators often share the session into 2, one with video, song and conversation (the educators stop the video several times to talk), and another session with manual activity only (children take more time to make thematerial of the day).


How to access your content or your material?

Our content and material are entirely online on our website. Parents, educators or teachers can access the videos by streaming and download the activities to print at home or at school. If you want to use offline, you can buy the full package with DVDs.


Does each parent, teacher or educator have to give their e-mail address to access the content?

Yes, access to the contents is entirely online through our site through an account, which requires an email address.


Does each session have guidelines for its implementation among children?

Yes and no. Many educators say that the programme is so simple that no implementation guidelines are needed, others like the flexibility to implement as they see fit and depending on their circumstances.

However, many educators implement the session as follows:

  • show the video (5-10 minutes);
  • children are asked what Bulgy's secret was (1-2 minutes);
  • play the song again for the children to sing (2-3 minutes);
  • they invent a choreography for the song and do the dance (5-10 minutes);
  • ask the children the questions in the conversation suggestions and talk about the secret and about emotions (5-10 minutes);
  • read the true story (when available);
  • do the arts and crafts activity (20-30 minutes).

These guidelines are valid for all sessions, which share the same structure.

The conversation suggestions have more specific guidelines for each day of the program, with questions to ask the children and reflect on. You can see an example from the first session here.


Do teachers and educators need training to implement the programme?

No. The programme is autonomous and does not require training. Parents, educators and teachers can implement without intervention on our part.


How can I pay and then receive the material?

We ask parents, educators and teachers to first register: it's free! Afterwards, we ask you to use the free session to see if you and the children like the programme. If you decide to purchase the complete program, you will have access to a page with detailed instructions, such as name, address, and tax ID for issuing an invoice.

We will provide access to the full programme within 1 business day of payment. Your access to the programme is entirely online on our website.


Who are the characters?
The Puppet CompanyThe puppets come from The Puppet Company Ltd ®, which we recommend following on social media:

We used six puppets from The Puppet Company and developed characters for each of them. By order of appearance:

Bulgy

Bulgy has empathy and understands what others are feeling. His signature move is that every time he meets someone, he starts the conversation with the question "How do you feel?" He is confident and likes adventure.

Becky

Becky is a scientist with a practical spirit. She has a somewhat hurried and fast-paced personality. She is organized to the point of perfectionism and loves to play sports.

Wisecrack

Wisecrack is an engineer and very intellectual. He lags somewhat behind in emotional and relational intelligence and has little empathy. He thinks everything is in books and then sometimes it doesn't work. For example, when he wanted to learn to swim, he read five books before entering the swimming pool.

Gabi

Gabi is fun, likes jokes and doing new things. She is a bit of a jester. She is usually in a good mood and has her things messed up and disorganized. She prefers to have pleasant emotions and doesn't know what to do with unpleasant ones, for example she panics when someone cries. She has "black-or-white" thinking: she thinks if we have an unpleasant emotion the day is spoiled and she is no longer happy. She is a dreamer and lives for pleasure and enjoyment. She wastes time planning and dreaming, but ends up not realizing it.

Casper

Casper is a toucan bird that spends holidays abroad. He's exotic and likes to play football. Sometimes he feels different from others because he's a bird. Sometimes it has foreign expressions.

Toby

Toby is obsessed with superheroes and wants to be one of them. He walks around with a blindfold and a cape. He would like to be able to fly.


How will watching these episodes help us?

The video episodes by themselves develop children's "emotional vocabulary", that is, give them words to understand what they are feeling. For exemple, children learn that we have four basic emotions (fear, sadness, anger, and joy), and that all emotions are good and important.

The magic of Bulgy happens when children follow the programme along with adults important in their lives, for example relatives or educators, because human relationships are the basis of emotional intelligence. Thanks ot the programme, children and adults have a common language to talk about emotions. Adults understand abstract concepts, like emotions and feelings; children like concrete stories; our videos bridge the gap between the two. We show situations from the daily life of chilren and give adults and children concrete words and tangible stories to talk about problems, develop emotional awareness, and try different behaviours.

One example of this magic is the true story from episode 3, where Becky teaches that emotions are caused by thoughts or facts:

Once upon a time, there was an 8 year old girl who sometimes felt afraid of the dark. She felt fear especially when at night her mother asked her to fetch something on the other side of the house. The problem was that, with the lights turned off, she thought that a robber could be somewhere in the house... After watching episode #3 and with help from her mother, she understood that she felt fear because of a fact: the turned-off lights! So she decided to change the fact. When she turned on the lights, she would see that no robber was present and she could fetch what her mother had asked without feeling fear.

A few weeks later, she realised that, in fact, the cause of the fear was a thought! If she thought that a robber was hiding in the dark, she felt fear. If she did not think a robber was there at all, she did not feel fear. She realised that the fear came from an imaginary danger and that, by choosing what to think, she was able to not feel fear and be happier. So she decided not to think a robber was there. Since that day, she started crossing the house in the dark without needing to turn on the lights and feel afraid!


Who is on your team?

This question is so frequent that we have a page with all the details here.


Is the series original?
Yes! It started during the 2020 pandemic to help the difficulties that children around us, sons and nephews confined at home, had in dealing with their emotions. The scripts are written by Joana Castelhano and Miguel Morin from their experience with children and their passion for good storytelling. The connection to the UK comes from Miguel, who lived in Cambridge and London for five years while working for the University of Cambridge and the Alan Turing Institute (read more).

What is the science behind the series?

The series is based on the current scientific evidence about emotions (namely Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy and Transactional Analysis), on our own personal and professional experience with emotions and children, and on the clinical and school practice of our psychologists. You can see the main messages of all episodes below.

We also contribute to the public and academic debate and construction of new school curricula, with social and emotional learning programmes such as "The Feelings Guru". For example, we presented our programme in the 11th International Congress on Child and Adolescente Psychology (XI CIPCA).

Social and emotional learning programmes done in person in schools have a very positive impact in children, as this literature review shows from 213 social programmes. It concluded that children following these programmes develop social and emotional skills, attitudes, and behaviours, equivalent to an improvement in academic results by 11 percentil points on average. The study covered 270 thousand students from nursery school to senior school.

We include below the scientific and bibliography that served for the first six episodes. To see the detailed bibliography by episode, and to see the references for other days, you need to register: it's free!

Kabat-Zinn, Jon (2005). "Wherever you go, there you are: Mindfulness meditation for everyday life", chapter "You can't stop the waves, but you can learn to surf", p. 30, has the analogy between meditation practice and ocean waves.

Brackett, Marc (2019). "Feelings influence decisions" mentions an experience described in the book "Permission to feel: unlocking the power of emotions to help our kids, ourselves, and our society thrive", chapter 2, "Emotions are information", section "Emotions and decision-making", p. 32), where teachers were randomly put in a good or bad mood (simply spending 5 minutes writing about a good or a bad day) and then grading the same essay showed one letter difference in grade, i.e. that teachers' emotions significantly affect the grades they give students, and that this effect disappears if teachers first reflect on how they are feeling, realising that the reason they dislike the essay is the bad mood and not the quality of writing.

Beck, Aaron (1976), "Cognitive Therapy and the emotional disorders", chapter 2, "Tapping the internal communications", section "The hidden message" mentions the "A, B, C" model: Activating event, Belief, emotional Consequence.

Fielding, Lara (2015). "Listening to Your Authentic Self: The Purpose of Emotions" (blog) mentions that emotions signal an important need: "Emotions signal a NEED: When something is important to us, we are supposed to feel emotions."

Goldstein, Joseph (2007). "A heart full of peace", p. 46, has the example that thoughts are like the wizard of Oz, where the only power they have is the power we give them, and that we can avoid getting swept by thoughts by paying attention and trainin the mind with meditation.

Brackett, Marc (2019). "Permission to feel: unlocking the power of emotions to help our kids, ourselves, and our society thrive" chapter 6, "L: Labeling emotion", has the strategy, "If you can name it (an emotion), you can tame it."


Do you have evidence of effectiveness?

Yes! Our internal evaluation shows that 90% of children change behavior: they become calmer, braver, and happier. An external evaluation shows that the programme is both comprehensive and effective in teaching emotional awareness and regulation. You can read about these results on the impact page. You can also read heart-felt testimonials from families.


Where are the videos?

You can see the video of the first day on the sample page. To access the remaining videos, you can register: it's free!


Why do you require registration?

Emotions are a sensitive topic. We want to ensure that children watch our content with caring adults who can support them, therefore we give access through registration with a valid email address.

Furthermore, this children's series is a sequence of learnings and the videos build on messages from previous episodes. Registration gives you access to the videos in the right order so your little ones understand the educational content well.

We do not make the videos publicly available because we have no advertising whatsoever and so our copyright is what guarantees the sustainability of the project.


How do I register?

Go to the registration page and fill in your details.


Where can I show the videos?

We grant permission to use our content (image, trademark, and videos) in the following contexts:

  • home and family use: adults showing our content to children on mobile devices, computers, or television screens;
  • school and library use: teachers, librarians, or other educators showing our content to students on a computer, a television screen, or a video-projector;
  • therapeutic and professional support use: healthcare, foster care, and social care professionals showing our content to their clients or patients.

In all these cases, The Feelings Guru is not a substitute for professional help, e.g. a psychologist or psychiatrist, and shall not be construed as such.

All other uses of our content (image, trademark and videos), including but not limited to cinemas, companies, outdoor events, or TV, are explicitly prohibited without our previous authorization, are against the terms and conditions upon registration, and may lead to legal action from us. If in doubt, please contact us.


How do you make money?

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 programme.

Our clients are families and schools (both private and public) with children aged 4-7.


Is the programme only for 4-7 year old children?

We made the programme for 4-7 year olds and tested the scripts, videos and songs extensively with children of this age. Nevertheless, it also works for other ages:

  • 2 years or less: we suggest downloading the songs, which contain the main messages in a fun format, and singing them along with children.
  • 8-12 years: although children of this age may find the puppets too basic, the characters grow on them after a few videos and children absorb the messages well.
  • 13-17 years: although teenagers find the puppets and songs too childish for them, families and schools report that they also learn valuable lessons when they "hitchhike" onto the episodes thanks to their younger siblings. One strategy for schools is for the class to watch the videos in order to present to a younger class.
  • 18 years or more: many adults and parents report that they themselves learn about their emotions thanks to our programme, saying "this course is made for me!" Adults can register even without children.


What is your 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 recognise 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.


Why are you on Facebook?

We use Facebook to communicate updates and interesting articles. But the content of the series is only available on our website and not on Facebook.


What are the videos you share on Facebook?

Our videos on Facebook are not those of our children's series. They only serve to communicate updates.


What are the main messages of each episode?

Here are the messages from each of the first 6 episodes, based on science. Each episode has a story and a song around its message so children remember it well.

  1. emotions are like waves; they come and go and we cannot stop them
  2. emotions are important because they affect every aspect of our lives
  3. emotions are caused by facts or thoughts
  4. if you have an emotion, it's because something is important for you
  5. the only way not be carried away by emotions is to pay attention to them
  6. giving emotions a name is the first step to navigate them

To see the full list, you need to register (why?).


What personal data do you store?

We only store data that enhance our mission to create impact with an educational programme. We decided to have little or nothing to steal in case of a cyberattack.

We store your email address because it allows us to communicate with you about your account. We also ask about the number of children using the programme to measure the impact of our programme, but this question is optional.

We do not use passwords because some people reuse them across websites, which is a vulnerability in case of a cyber-attack, and the others forget the password, and then ask for a new one by email. Instead, we send a unique code (also called a "one-time password") to your email address each time you want to login.

If you register for an account but do not login, we delete your personal data within days. If you do not use the content area of our website for 3 months, we will also delete your personal data.


Do you use passwords? What is a unique code?

For safety (yours and ours), we do not use passwords. When passwords are complicated, users forget them and ask for a new one by email. When passwords are simple, users tend to use the same across multiple sites. We decided that giving access to our content was not worth the risk of having a cyber-attack in which we lost a user's password that also served for a bank account.

To make our website more secure, when you want to login, we send a unique code (also called a "one-time password") to your email address. It is similar to the codes you receive on your phone to validate a bank transaction.

If you use our website on multiple devices, such as a computer and a phone, you need a unique code for each. Then the device remembers our website for three months; if you use our website every month on a device, you will no longer need more unique codes for that device.


Can I download the videos?

Normally, no. On the one hand, we want to avoid piracy and illegal copying of our copyrighted content. On the other hand, we measure our short-term impact with the usage of our website and the number of views of the videos. Therefore, we want you to view the videos over streaming only.

Some partners we work with sometimes have important presentations that require 100% guarantee against internet failures and downtime of our website. This situation is for institutional partners and we ask that you contact us to facilitate the situation.

Schools without internet or classrooms without wi-fi can acquire the full package with episodes on DVDs for offline use.


What is ZIP?
A ZIP file is an archive of several files in one, as if it were a big box with several little boxes inside. The internet does not allow you to download several files at once, for example all songs or all activities. Thus we merged all these files into a ZIP archive. A ZIP archive is a file and so you can download it. To learn more about dealing with ZIP files, such as opening and extracting, you can see this WikiHow.

Who is supporting you?

The Feelings Guru takes pride in national support from:

ISCTE-HealthSanta Maria Health SchoolChild Support InstituteAssociação Portuguesa de Inteligência Emocional

and in international support from:

The Puppet CompanyVersus Virus IncubatorAWS ActivateStartup School (YCombinator)