Frequently Asked Questions

What is "Emotion Athletes"?

It is a fun children's series for 4-8 year olds that develops social and emotional learning. It focuses on emotional awareness, emotional regulation, and positive character traits like honesty and courage. The main content is a video story lasting 5-10 minutes that uses one main lesson from the science of emotions, weaves that message into a concrete story, and finishes with a song. It also provides quality educational videos and activities and podcasts. The characters in the videos are puppets and the main character is Bulgy (the puppet on our website's logo). Each day of activity takes between 10 minutes and 1 hour to complete. Families and schools can access content on our website and complete the program flexibly and at their own pace.


Who are the characters?

The series has six characters, listed here by order of appearance.

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.

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.

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.

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 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 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 much does the children's series cost?

We want to keep the cost of the series as low as possible, while covering our expenses. A product needs production. We don't do this for the money, but we need money to do it. Therefore, we make the series available for 10 EUR/USD/GBP per month with a free trial until episode 4. Nevertheless, we want to make the series available to the largest possible number of children regardless of their socioeconomic status. If you cannot afford this low cost, you can contact us explaining the situation and possibly other ways you can help us.


How will watching these episodes help us?

The video episodes alone can help children with an "emotional alphabet", 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?

We have a range of skills with a family doctor, an engineer and two actors. This question is so frequent that we have a page with all the details here.


Is the series original?
Yes! It was borne out of the 2020 pandemic to answer the difficulties that children around us, sons and nephews confined at home, had in dealing with their emotions. The script is written by Joana Castelhano and Miguel Morin from their experience with children and their passion for good storytelling. The connection to Portugal comes from Joana, who is living there and has tested the early versions of the script with family and friends.

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) and on our own personal and professional experience with emotions and children (the team consists mainly of Joana, family doctor, and Miguel, engineer and children's entertainer). 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 "Emotion Athletes". 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 emotionatl 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.

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."


What are the results from the programme?

We have a lot of results from our programme, including testimonials from families. We had two internal evaluations and one external evaluation, which are on the impact page.


Where are the videos?

The video of the first days on the day 1 page. We have more videos in English coming soon. When those become available, you will need to register to access them (why?).


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?

The Emotion Athletes series outside of Portugal works only by invitation. If you received an invitation, follow the instructions therein. Otherwise, email us (registration (at-symbol) emotionathletes (dot) org) to request an invitation, mentioning the channel by which you heard about us (through a friend, relatives, Facebook, etc).


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, Emotion Athletes 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 (learn more). We first want to create impact and value, and only later capture some of that value.

Even so, we have some possibilities for sales that come from requests of our users, which we will explore with the goal of becoming financially sustainable by late 2021:

  • Sell access to the content of the children's series by subscription to families and schools.
  • Sell a licence to publishers for inclusion in virtual school programmes.
  • Sell the children's series to schools with live theatre and facilitation sessions with discussion and sharing in classrooms.
  • Sell the series to TV stations.
  • Sell "puppet therapy" sessions over the internet for children to talk about emotions with Bulgy in the presence of parents.


Is the programme only for 4-8 year old children?

We made the programme for 4-8 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.
  • 3-4 years: families and schools report that children like and understand part of the messages. One strategy is to watch the episode again until children know the song by heart and only then move on to the next.
  • 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.

For schools without internet or classrooms without wi-fi, we ask that you contact us to discuss your case, for example with purchase of DVDs with the videos.


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?

Emotion Athletes take pride in national support from:

and in international support from: