For partners

Our story

We are a start-up launched recently (June 2020) and bootstrapped with volunteer work. We want to be financially sustainable by late 2021. Until then, we have space for one partner that shares the same vision of educating today the leaders of the future.

Our 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.

Learn more

You can find all about us by clicking on the headings of this page. If you have any questions or feel that something is missing, please contact us.

The problem we are targeting

Before the pandemic, 20% of children had low emotional awareness, which is one of the risk factors for anxiety (32% correlation) and depression (40% correlation) (Kranzler et al., 2016). These problems have been increasing: anxiety and depression rose 50% between 2003 and 2007 (Center for Disease Control) and the situation worsened with the pandemic (Barnardos, 2020).

The solution we propose

It is a fun children's series for 5-10 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.

Competition and our innovation

Fortunately, many initiatives are working on this problem. They fall roughly in two groups:

  • Training and professional development of educators, for example the RULER programme from the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, which takes one year of training teachers and schools. These in-person programmes are effective and based on science but take time and significant resources to implement with teacher and school training.
  • Videos and movies that cover emotions, such as Sesame Workshop and Inside Out. These digital video programmes scale easily but miss the human relationship that is at the heart of emotional intelligence.

Our solution uses the best of both approaches:

  • it is scalable because most content is digital and we use the internet to distribute videos, podcasts, and songs;
  • it is effective because teachers and parents not only see the videos along with children, but they also apply the messages in specific situations of children's lives.

A perfect example is the story one mother told us. Her 4-year old daughter was riding a bicycle and stopped in front of a slope. The mother mentioned episode 6, where Wisecrack feels afraid of waves, names his emotions, and the fear no longer controls him. The child followed the same steps, felt relief, and cycled down the slope.

We use the scalability of digital communications over the internet and the effectiveness of personal communications within the family or the school. Children learn by analogy with the tangible examples in the stories and thanks to personal communication with adults. Our innovative method is both digital and human, artistic and scientific, entertaining and educational.

Impact

We measure our impact with surveys of educators, families, and usage of our website. The numbers show that our solution works and that the problem is urgent.

School survey results

The following results come from a questionnaire between 25th May and 10th June 2021 to 35 educators that reached the 7th episode. Of these, 13 answered (response rate: 37%) with answers for 287 children with 5.9 years of age on average (standard deviation: 1.8).

The main result is that the majority of educatores strongly agree that Bulgy helped children in the following areas: emotional awareness, emotional well-being, problem-solving, self-confidence, self-knowledge, emotional expression, empathy, courage, reduced conflict, reduced stress.

The questionnaire drew inspiration from the "Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire" and had these instructions.

Below are 10 statements about the possible impact of Bulgy on your classroom. For each, please mark whether you disagree, somewhat agree, or strongly agree. Please take into account the videos, podcast, activities, and conversations that arose because of Bulgy and the change in behaviour of children in general.

Disagree
Somewhat agree
Strongly agree

"Bulgy helps to reduce the tiredness and confusion of emotions from the pandemic."

0.0%
Disagree
7.7%
Somewhat agree
92.3%
Strongly agree

"Children's well-being improved thanks to Bulgy."

0.0%
Disagree
15.4%
Somewhat agree
84.6%
Strongly agree

"Children can better resolve day-to-day problems."

0.0%
Disagree
30.8%
Somewhat agree
69.2%
Strongly agree

"Children feel more confident."

0.0%
Disagree
23.1%
Somewhat agree
76.9%
Strongly agree

"Children developed more self-knowledge."

0.0%
Disagree
15.4%
Somewhat agree
84.6%
Strongly agree

"Children are better able to verbally express what they are feeling."

0.0%
Disagree
7.7%
Somewhat agree
92.3%
Strongly agree

"Children developed empathy (for example, they are more considerate and cooperative with one another)."

0.0%
Disagree
53.8%
Somewhat agree
46.2%
Strongly agree

"Children have more courage, or are less controlled by their fears."

0.0%
Disagree
30.8%
Somewhat agree
69.2%
Strongly agree

"Children's behaviour is less agressive."

7.7%
Disagree
38.5%
Somewhat agree
53.8%
Strongly agree

"Children deal better with stress (for example, they are calmer during exams)."

7.7%
Disagree
53.8%
Somewhat agree
38.5%
Strongly agree

Family survey results

The following results come from a questionnaire between 7th and 10th March 2021 for the 76 families that reached the 9th episode. Of these, 50 answered (66% response rate) with answers for 66 children with 6.7 years of age on average (standard deviation: 2.1).

The main result is that 88% of children change behaviour, especially they have more courage, become calmer, and happier.

The questionnaire drew inspiration from the "Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire" and had these instructions.

Below are 5 statements. For each of them, choose one of the following options:

  • Not true
  • Somewhat true
  • Very true

It would help us a lot if you answer all statements to the best of your ability, even if you are not absolutely sure or if the statement sounds strange. Please answer based on Bulgy's impact (videos, podcast, activities, and conversations that it sparked) and the child's general behavior (independently of lockdown in the last few weeks).

Not true
Somewhat true
Very true

"The child recognizes better or is more aware of their emotions:"

1.5%
Not true
33.3%
Somewhat true
65.2%
Very true

"The child is better able to tell me how they are feeling:"

3.0%
Not true
34.8%
Somewhat true
62.1%
Very true

"The child has more general understanding about emotions (what they are, where they come from, why we have them):"

0.0%
Not true
25.8%
Somewhat true
74.2%
Very true

"The child is more sensitive to others' emotions:"

4.5%
Not true
39.4%
Somewhat true
56.1%
Very true

"Bulgy changed my child's life:"

6.1%
Not true
48.5%
Somewhat true
45.5%
Very true

Since you started Bulgy's programme, did you notice a difference in your child's behaviour?

34.8%
has more courage, or is less controlled by their fears
31.0%
feels happier
30.3%
is calmer and loses temper less
19.7%
has fewer "tantrums"
15.2%
is more optimistic
9.1%
is less violent
19.7%
other behaviour change
88.3%
any of the option aboves

Users

We believe we are solving an urgent problem because of the growth in our short-term measurs of impact (statistics below) and also because of the testimonials we hear from parents and children.

The following results are from the usage data of our website:

  • 1.8: average number of times children watch each video;
  • 96%: satisfaction of children regarding Bulgy's episodes (average of 311 ratings);
  • 241 teachers registered;
  • 1281 users registered;
  • 8432 children following the programme;
  • 990 followers on Facebook;
  • 14246 total views of our video episodes.

Growth

Our impact indicators exploded since we opened registration to the public in Portugal in January 2021 due to the new lockdown, as we show below. The first graph is the number of children whose adults used our website, the second is the number of new viewings of episodes, both over the 30 days prior to each date. The numbers are the growth of these indicators compared to the previous month. We update these figures each day.

Business model

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 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.

Contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals

We contribute mainly to:

In the long term, we also hope to contribute to:

Theory of change

Our theory of change, in an abridged format, is:

  • our stakeholders are families or schools with children aged 5 to 10
  • the problem is the low emotional awareness in 17% of children (learn more)
  • one cause is the lack of emotional education in schools and in families
  • our activity is a series of videos and podcasts to watch and listen as a family or in the classroom (learn more about the solution)
  • our output is the number of registered families or schools
  • our outcome is the improvement in emotional intelligence of children (measured by the Levels of Emotional Awareness Scale)
  • our impact in children is better education (measured by school results), health, work prospects, and happiness in life, in line with Sustainable Development Goals 4, 3, 12, and 8 (learn more)
  • our short-term metric is an internet survey of registered families or schools with the main question being "Would you be very disappointed if you could no longer use our children's series?" (the standard measure of product-market fit).
  • our monitoring is a pilot project in schools with random allocation and measurement of school results, levels of emotional awareness in children, and change in behaviour from interviews with parents or teachers (the project leader has a PhD and experience in randomised controlled trials, e.g. this proposal with ethics approval)
  • our risks are mainly financial (if we don't generate enough revenue to become sustainable) and attrition (if families drop out of the programme), both of which we can and do quantify.

Equality, diversity, and inclusion

Our policy for equality, diversity, and inclusion rests on the following points.

We insist on gender parity both in the team and in our videos.

We follow practices from academic research (the project lead studied the economic impacts of discrimination): for example, we ask job candidates to omit the name on resumes to avoid cultural bias; for voice artists, we do interviews only with audio to avoid a bias of physical appearance.

Inside the team, we privilege sharing emotions and vulnerability, for example: we start and finish each meeting with a round of sharing our feelings in the moment, which creates psychological safety for teamwork and also helps deal with difficulties before they become problems.

Current partners

Emotion Athletes take pride in international support from: