Author – Robbie Janelle –
Every parent or teacher aspires to bring the best out of their kids, and one of the best ways to do that is through social and emotional learning (SEL). Supporting your students’ social and emotional development can lead to positive effects like reduced school absences and improved school performance. But SEL doesn’t just improve individual performances — it also enhances the students’ interpersonal skills, emotional well-being, morality, and work ethic over time, leading them to long-term success.
SEL builds up the skills that children need for personal and professional development, which is why it is at the heart of our two-pronged learning program entitled Building Dreams. The curriculum is designed to teach skills, values, and behaviors that are crucial for their growth as responsible members of society. By investing in their social and emotional wellness, your students will develop the following competencies in the future:
Early childhood settings, like homes and schools, are environments where young people search for trust and support. Thus, teachers specializing in early childhood education must assist in the emotional development of students so that these kids can feel safer and happier in a school environment. Teachers utilizing SEL can help students develop greater control over their responses and their actions, whether they’re inside or outside the classroom.
With that emotional intelligence, students can grow into adults that can adapt to situations to achieve their academic or career goals. Moreover, kids who can regulate their emotions also grow into individuals who can carry out strategies to improve their physical and mental well-being.
Social learning is crucial in this developmental stage since children have to build active listening skills and understand social cues to have healthy relationships with their peers. Recognizing SEL’s role in building interpersonal communication skills, professionals working in speech therapy are able to support kids with language needs by building their awareness of social interaction cues, such as facial expressions and body language. This social and emotional approach to client care ensures that kids with speech impairments or disabilities can communicate with both efficiency and understanding.
Through their developed communication skills, these kids can then grow into professionals that can confidently interact with a diverse range of people. Their ability to articulate their ideas will also build their confidence in their career and in their personal lives.
Another personal competency that SEL focuses on is responsible decision-making. While they’re still young, educators must help students understand that their actions have consequences, both in their personal lives and in their communities. By understanding the impact of their actions in society, children will actively choose to make caring and constructive decisions regarding their behavior and social interactions.
Teaching this competency is important for preparing students to be active members of their communities. Kids with a good moral compass become adults that make ethical decisions in their personal and professional lives, regardless of who may be watching. These children will also likely become community members who voluntarily engage in initiatives that promote justice and equality.
Apart from learning how to interact with various individuals, kids must also be aware that people have diverse backgrounds and experiences. Since their interactions are quite limited at this stage, SEL is crucial in developing their ability to understand the perspectives of others — regardless of their differences. This will foster their ability to empathize with other people’s experiences and to understand their social and ethical norms.
Differences can lead to conflicts between people, but adults with strong social awareness can become great leaders due to their ability to understand different perspectives and practice diplomacy in relationships. More importantly, children who develop an understanding of diversity through SEL are also more likely to stand up for the rights of others when needed.
You can think of SEL as a long-term investment for children. By fostering their social and emotional development, teachers, educators, and parents can help mold a generation of individuals that have the capacity to improve themselves and their own community.