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5 Tips for Incorporating Social Emotional Learning in Your Program

Social emotional learning (SEL) addresses children’s ability to learn about and manage their emotions and interactions with others – the skills all kids need to succeed in school, form healthy relationships, and eventually excel in the workplace.

South Carolina nonprofit WINGS for Kids  believes that building social emotional skills can happen anywhere and anytime.

WINGS for Kids suggests five easy ways to integrate SEL in your program:

  1. Use books and movies to explore different types of emotions. After reading a book or watching a movie, discuss what the characters were feeling in a certain situation and why. Then have kids draw a picture or create a collage to illustrate a time when they have felt that emotion or have been in a similar situation. Talking about characters’ feelings – and expressing their own feelings in different ways- helps kids identify emotions and build empathy.
  2. Use kid-friendly SEL vocabulary. We might use terms like “self-management” and “social awareness” when talking about SEL, but these aren’t always the easiest phrases to understand, especially for kids. Use phrases like “understanding my feelings” instead of “self-awareness” or “being a good friend” instead of “relationship skills” to create a culture and language of SEL that everyone can be a part of.
  3. Teach the power of positive feedback. Giving positive feedback is an excellent way to build strong relationships, communicate well, and cooperate with others – all important aspects of SEL. Create a week-long challenge where kids and educators give five pieces of positive feedback to someone else every day. Start with five pennies in one pocket, and move them into another pocket each time you give a compliment to track your daily progress. Remember that effective feedback describes the situation, describes the behavior, and states the effect.
  4. Embrace the excitement of trying something new. Encouraging kids to do something that’s new to them, whether it’s eating sushi or skateboarding, is a great way to build self-confidence and self-awareness about what they like or are interested in. Start a weekly or monthly “Try Something New Day” where kids and educators have the opportunity to do something they’ve never done before, and then talk about how the experience made them feel.
  5. Step into someone else’s shoes. Learning about what is important to others is a great way to develop empathy and learn how to build positive relationships with others. Pair kids who may not already know each other or who come from different classrooms or schools. Have each student draw a picture of their family or create a map of place that is special to them, and then exchange the craft with their partner and talk about why it’s special to them.

For more ideas on how to incorporate SEL into your program, visit the WINGS for Kids website to download a free DIY social emotional learning toolkit.

WINGS for Kids is a nonprofit education program whose mission is to equip at-risk kids with the skills they need to succeed in school, stay in school, and thrive in life.
Source: S&S blog | 5 Tips for Incorporating Social Emotional Learning in Your Program, https://www.ssww.com/blog | Copyright © 2020 S&S Worldwide

CHC offers free community education sessions for educators. Join us to learn practical teaching strategies you can use in your classroom to help more kids reach their promise and potential. Educator sessions are led by experienced educator/clinician teams from Sand Hill School and CHC.

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