Emotional literacy becomes a school subject in Rome

The introduction of an experimental subject to teach children to manage their emotions is expected from January 2024. Here is the initiative

Daniela Cursi Masella

School, sport, social media and parents together for an epochal turning point. In the center of the table coordinated by Aldo Grausopsychologist and psychotherapist, there is a new school subject: theemotionality. “Since September – explains Grauso – we have established in the Campidoglio, in synergy between other institutions, a permanent inter-ministerial technical table (Health and Education) to promote a revolutionary protocol on the adoption of curricular lessons of emotional literacy for them primary and secondary schools of the Municipality of Rome”. The initiative is supported by Moige, the Lazio Regional School Office, the Postal Police, the Experimental and Paralympic Football Division of the FIGC, the Social Department of the National Amateur League and TikTok Italia with the scientific coordination of Dr. Grauso.

Emotional self-protection

“From an evolutionary point of view – underlines Aldo Grauso – self-preservation and self-protection is certainly a fundamental aim”. How does the mind work in this sense? “Everything that happens to us hurts us deeply it copies itself into our memory and sends us a signal every time the same or similar stimulus occurs again. The mind wants to help us no longer feel intense painful emotions. Sometimes, however, the strategies used are not really functional.”

Emotional dysregulation

Emotional dysregulation – explains the expert – it does not allow one to have either awareness or the ability to regulate one’s emotional states. It follows that the subject finds himself experiencing emotional situations, such as anger or pain, which are completely out of control. In disabling cases, emotional dysregulation, according to the DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders)has precise clinical manifestations among which we find depression, panic attacks, compulsive behaviors And eating disorders”.

Emotionality and attachment patterns

The ability to regulate one’s emotions is learned during childhood attachment relationship with the reference figure (parents first and foremost). “Emotional dysregulation and attachment style – declares Aldo Grauso – they are profoundly connected according to childhood psychology. In fact, if the adult is able to respond to the child’s needs and is able to reassure him when the child needs it, he will allow him to develop good emotional regulation, increasing his emotional intelligence and preventing him from feeling afraid of his own emotions. The family must be a place of emotional attunement, but this is not always the case. To give an example from a criminological point of view, those who kill women almost always kill a part of their mothers that is not emotionally attuned”.


After the developmental age, “In addition to psychotherapy, neuropsychological and systemic relational, there are various self-help strategies that we can use to improve the ability to manage emotions: physical exercise daily; relaxation techniques in situations of strong emotional stress; use of grounding techniques in situations of strong emotional stress; meditation; the use of writing to express their emotions. In cases of strong social impairment, the integrated and non-substitutive use of mood stabilizing drugs is also advisable”, concludes the expert.

Early prevention

At 18 it’s too late – Grauso says – we need to act sooner. Scientific evidence underlines that, if no action is taken from primary school, any further future action translates into “bar chatter”. Ministerial curricular hours e hours of emotional literacy, like a school subject, are the only way to intervene in time because the first signs of the onset of emotional dysregulation begin to appear in middle childhood. This is where episodes of non-management of emotions can be prevented on two axes: rabid (violent conduct towards oneself or others, ed.) and hypoactivating (which leads to depression, ed.). Otherwise, there is the risk of keeping some crises unprocessed, ready to manifest themselves with the first external triggering factor.” The experimental introduction of social-emotional learning will start in Rome, at participating schools, from January 2024 to then evaluate the extension on a national scale. FIGC will bring the same protocol to the sports fields. And here too, the aim is to subsequently involve the entire sporting movement.