From a young age, children begin to assert their independence, express their feelings, and make their concerns known. Social-emotional learning (SEL) can help children learn healthy communication, self-regulation, and decision-making skills. Social-emotional learning is described as the process of understanding and managing one’s emotions, being able to relate to others, forming and building positive relationships, developing a strong sense of social awareness, responsible decision-making, and achieving goals.
What are the Benefits of SEL for Children?
Teachers who are trained in social-emotional learning are in a strong position to help their students benefit in a number of ways. In the classroom, SEL can lead to better stress management, increased focus in the learning environment, a positive attitude and better social behavior in school, responsible decision-making, a reduction in behavioral issues, and improved academic achievement. And, the benefits of SEL do not stop in early childhood. They can benefit a child well into their later life and even as they become an adult, as they obtain a college degree and employment. SEL teaches children healthy communication skills from a young age, which can benefit them in all areas of life, right through their lives.
How Social-Emotional Learning is Conducted:
In a school setting, there are various activities that can help with social-emotional learning. For example, Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) in Physical Education could be in the form of active play that requires a level of social interaction and problem-solving exercises. SEL also occurs when children cooperate with partners on school projects, and teachers can help students by teaching them how to identify their emotions, discussing their feelings in an honest and respectful way, setting a good example of appropriate emotional regulation, and encouraging empathy towards others.
How Parents Can Facilitate SEL at Home:
While children are certainly influenced a lot by their time in the classroom, parents and legal guardians still often have the greatest influence on a child’s development. In terms of social-emotional learning, there are several things that a parent or guardian can do at home to continue what the child is learning in the classroom. Positive reinforcement and specific praise without comparing the child to others, having honest conversations about emotions and feelings and identifying emotions together, reading together and discussing the books, encouraging safe independence wherever possible, and encouraging children to talk about their feelings if they are upset or angry are all useful habits to form at home to provide a healthy home environment for a child that encourages SEL.
How SEL Benefits in Adulthood:
Social-emotional learning from a young age sets a child up for more success in adulthood. In adult relationships, for example, being able to understand and manage emotions, strong social skills, empathy, positive social behavior, and successful stress management techniques are not only desirable traits but also improve the happiness, wellbeing, and life satisfaction of a person. SEL sets your child up for success in every aspect of their future lives, both personally and professionally.
SEL allows children to learn emotions, social skills, responsibility, and healthy independence at a young age, providing them with a secure foundation for success.