SEIB BELIEVES THAT EVERY CHILD HAS THE
POTENTIAL TO BE A STAR AND ACHIEVE ANYTHING
THEY PUT THEIR MIND TO. THROUGH NURTURING
AND STRENGTHENING THEIR EMOTIONAL
INTELLIGENCE, ELISSA HAS DISCOVERED THE KEY
TO UNLOCKING THE POTENTIAL WITHIN EVERY
CHILD. GENINE HOWARD CHATS WITH ELISSA AND
FINDS OUT JUST HOW SHE HAS IMPROVED THE
LIVES OF SO MANY SUNSHINE COAST CHILDREN.
life begins at 40 and that is exactly how
Elissa Seib, principal mentor of Curious
Kids Can, felt when she turned the big four
zero – it was time for a change in
made you start Curious Kids Can?
Having taught for 17 years interstate, in
public and private schools, in city and
country locations, in both primary and
secondary campuses as well as students of
varying cultures, it became very clear to me
that it was the student’s emotional well-being
that had the most impact on their academic
achievement. Yet, as a classroom teacher with
a duty of care of up to 36 students, it also
became very clear to me that, when time
permitted, it was impossible for one teacher
in a classroom full of students to
successfully nurture each individual students’
social and emotional development
simultaneously. For years I tried, but it was
only after a series of ‘meant to be’ incidents
that culminated in a car accident did I
finally take the plunge and open the doors to
Curious Kids Can and I haven’t looked back.
Now I can successfully nurture and strengthen
my students’ emotional intelligence on a
strictly one to one basis - full time.
What is emotional intelligence? What does it
mean to Curious Kids Can?
American psychologist Daniel Goleman, well
known for his Number one best selling book
Emotional Intelligence: Why it can matter
more than IQ, characterizes emotional
intelligence as self-awareness, mood
management, self-motivation, empathy and
managing relationships. Most people know it
as one’s social and emotional development.
Emotional Intelligence is the core of Curious
do you find is usually the biggest issue
facing children who come to you for mentoring?
Unhappiness, disillusionment, loneliness and
frustration. Most of the students who come to
me have low self-esteem and lack confidence.
They are often overwhelmed by the pressures
and commitments of school life or are
struggling with their sense of belonging and
being valued by their peers.
Have you ever had to deal with a child who is
‘Un-teachable’ no, ‘unavailable’ yes. There
is a difference. I’ve only had one child who
was very obviously forced against their will
to come to Curious Kids Can and consequently
refused to actively participate in the
you describe your motivational process?
On a one-to-one basis in a unique learning
environment, I mentor my students as they
learn how to become aware of who they are as a
person. They explore how to understand and
manage their emotions, develop effective
communication skills, deal with peer pressure
and stress and most importantly, learn how to
think positively and for themselves.
seems to be an issue many children have to
deal with. How can parents tell if their child
is being bullied, and what is the best
The parent / child / teacher relationship is
the key to identifying and dealing with
bullying. An attentive parent will notice
when their child is behaving out of character,
if they are withdrawn, overtly aggressive,
over emotional, despondent or sneaky. The
child may even exhibit bullying behaviours
themselves at home with siblings.
parent observes any of these behaviours,
knowing when and how to deal with them is
crucial. Wait until the behaviour has
subsided or not in its most active or volatile
stage and talk to your child when they are in
a calm, relaxed state of mind and not
suspicious of your line of questioning. This
way you can reason with your child as you
express your genuine love and concern for
them. Also share your concerns with your
child’s teacher. They may have noticed
similar behaviours or have some of the
Anyone, but especially a child who is a
survivor, who has the never say die attitude
which has enabled them to overcome challenging
circumstances in their life be it adversity,
their own demons or illness.
do you live by?
As a child, “Do unto others as you would have
them do unto you” and as an adult, “Carpe Diem
… seize the Day” from the movie Dead Poets
with Elissa it becomes apparent how genuinely
overwhelmed she is by the huge success of the
program. She says, “I truly don’t understand
exactly why this particular program works so
well but it does. Something simply clicks
with the kids which sets them off on their own
exciting adventure of personal discovery.
Maybe it’s the rainforest walks that add to
the adventure because rain, hail or shine the
rainforest walk is one part of the program we
don’t miss out on. Whatever it is, it’s
exhilarating to watch. Sometimes you can see
it in their eyes or when they leave with a
smile that lights up their entire face or they
bombard me with an array of questions … a bit
like Monty Python’s Meaning of Life.”
out more about unlocking the star potential
within your child visit