Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) is the “It” topic today in education and youth development. SEL programming helps children to feel and show empathy, establish and maintain positive relationships and make responsible decisions. It makes a lot of sense. A strong emotional base sets the stage for learning and positive development. There are a variety of ways teachers and parents can support and guide children as they build their social-emotional stamina. Here are a few of the latest ideas:
SEL Drive in Schools Is Opportunity for Youth Developers
Research shows SEL skills can be taught and can make a positive impact on academics and lifetime outcomes. Momentum for SEL is growing, with many school districts incorporating an SEL culture and curriculum into the school day. Out-of-School time programs have long recognized and focused on building SEL-type “soft skills” like self awareness, social connections, confidence and perseverance to position kids for success. This article in Youth Today by Katie Brackenridge of Partnership for Children & Youth encourages youth development nonprofits “to seize the opportunity” to communicate the value of their programs and deepen their work in this arena.
“The time is ripe for expanded learning programs and the school day to leverage each other’s expertise, resources and time so every child succeeds.”
Engaging Families in SEL
Leah Shafer, a writer for Usable Knowledge, provides some good tips in her post in EdSurge on how schools can help families apply SEL practices and skills at home to help their children become resilient, mindful and kind, and how parents can use everyday interactions at home to build on the work being done at school.
“In their separate domains, educators and parents both understand the importance of social-emotional skills…. But schools and families are not always in sync on how to develop those competencies.”
Want to Reduce Bullying in School? Bring in the Babies!
This piece in NationSwell by Joseph Darius Jaafari highlights the value of teaching empathy as a way to reduce aggression in children. The article highlights the work of the Canadian nonprofit Roots of Empathy whose program brings a volunteer parent and his or her infant into the classroom to model caring behavior.
“Students learn to identify with the baby’s perspective and how to recognize and label the tiny tot’s feelings. They then become increasingly able to apply that learning to themselves, leading to a better understanding of their own feelings as well as the feelings of their peers.”
Kindergartners who share, cooperate and are helpful are more likely to have a college degree and a job 20 years later than children who lack those social skills, according to a study in the American Journal Public Health which involved tracking nearly 800 students for two decades.
“These are skills that probably portend their ability to do well in school, to pay attention and to navigate their environment,” said Damon E. Jones, a research assistant professor of health and human development at Pennsylvania State University who was the lead author of the paper.