Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) is an umbrella term that refers to students' "acquisition of skills to recognize and manage emotions, develop care and concern for others, make responsible decisions, establish positive relationships, and handle challenging situations effectively" ( CASEL ).
Social and emotional education involves teaching children to be self-aware, socially cognizant, able to make responsible decisions, and competent in self-management and relationship-management skills so as to foster their academic success. Schools are focusing more on developing SEL programming for students as research highlights the positive relationship of SEL to academic success. Educators who work with preschool-age children have long understood the importance of addressing social and emotional development. Research shows that “one of the most consistent findings in the early childhood literature is that an emotionally warm and positive approach in learning situations leads to constructive behavior in children.”
Some states have developed SEL standards for preschool, kindergarten, and early elementary grades as part of their efforts to integrate these strategies into the early years of education.
Mindfulness is paying attention, in a particular way, on purpose, in the present moment, non- judgmentally. Mindfulness practices helps students pay attention to their breath, body, thoughts, feelings and the world around them. When they can observe their thoughts and feelings they have the freedom to choose how they will speak and act. And this can lead to a happier, more harmonious classroom.
2. Challenge Thinking – thoughts influence feelings :
This is an important concept because we may not always be able to influence what happens to us but we do have a powerful influence in how we interpret what happens to us and how we deal with it. Many students are unaware that their thoughts play a large role in influencing how they feel. No matter what happens to you, nobody can take this away from you and it is an empowering lesson to teach when ever you hear a student express frustration, anger and other negative emotions – listen for the emotion, catch the moment and help your student challenge their thinking.
4. Empathy – listen to be surprised:
Part of SEL is an understanding of the importance of positive relationships. To have these relationships we need to have empathy. Teachers have a wonderful ability to model empathy. Encourage students to listen to others, ask them to listen to be surprised and try to understand how other students might be feeling.
3. Persistence & Determination :
A really important aspect of wellbeing and SEL is the ability to accomplish things in life. Many students naturally strive to better themselves in some way, whether they are seeking to master a skill, achieve a valuable goal, or win in some competitive event. Other students need some coaching in this area. Teaching students each and every lesson that to accomplish things takes effort, patience and perseverance is really important.
Once again research is showing us that a really important aspect of well-being is gratitude. This research indicates those who regularly express gratitude have more energy and enthusiasm, less stress and better physical wellbeing. For students this can be done by incorporating some simple exercises into each lesson. At the end of each class ask students to reflect on the class using these three questions:
Most importantly above all have fun each and every class – learning should be fun and play is a really important part of Social Emotional Learning (SEL).
Social-emotional development includes the child's experience, expression, and management of emotions and the ability to establish positive and rewarding relationships with others . It encompasses both intra- and interpersonal processes. Emotional development refers to a child's growing ability to regulate and control emotions and to form secure relationships. It differs from cognitive development, which readies a child for school, in that it prepares a child to take on a greater degree of responsibility for his or her internal state.
You can promote social-emotional development in your classroom by embedding your teaching practices throughout the day. Remaining sensitive to children’s needs helps them feel secure and confident, and act as a model for effective social behavior. For example, asking questions to help children find a solution to a social conflict helps them develop problem-solving skills. Reading a story and engaging children in a conversation about a socially challenging situation can also serve as a lesson in handling social problems as well as in literacy.
Be Attentive to Each Child’s Needs - Be attentive to the social-emotional skills and needs of each unique child so you can respond with lessons and interventions tailored to help every child develop their skills. Your attention and presence as a teacher can be a pillar of confidence for children who are dealing with stressful life circumstances. Letting children know that you are there to help will build children’s trust that you are a source of guidance.
Early Emotional Experiences Matter :
The emotional domain is foundational to all other developmental domains. If children start school in an emotionally supportive environment, they will acquire the love of learning necessary for success in all areas of school. “As young children develop, their early emotional experiences literally become embedded in the architecture of their brains,” therefore great care should be given to children’s emotional needs, according to the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child. If you seek children’s opinions, allow children to initiate activities and are flexible about responding to children’s ideas, you’ll build children’s feelings that they are competent and respected, and at the same time motivate their desire to learn.
Promoting Consistent Structure with Play :
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, “Play is integral to the academic environment. It ensures that the school setting attends to the social and emotional development of children as well as their cognitive development.” Creating routines of fun and meaningful activities such as songs, chants and games can minimize problems or stress during challenging times, such as when children wait in line or during transitions.
Social-emotional development is supported through positive and consistent relationships among teachers and children. Try going beyond expectations of compliance with school rules, and support social-emotional development by crafting a positive, emotionally supportive climate in the classroom that skillfully connects new experiences with children’s unique home experiences. According to the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child, “Children who develop warm, positive relationships with their [TK] teachers are more excited about learning, more positive about coming to school, more self-confident, and achieve more in the classroom.”