Early Childhood Education and Social-Emotional Learning: Importance in Contemporary Times
- 17 October 2022
In a world where adults are struggling to not only identify but also deal with their emotions, the responsibility lies on us, educators, to include social and emotional learning in our curriculum. This of course means that the process of making a child socially and emotionally aware is a continual and consistent one. Hence, social and emotional learning practices should be included in every phase of learning.
Impact of Pandemic on Social and Emotional Learning
The advent of the pandemic was unprecedented and even more unprecedented were its impact. Of multiple changes that the pandemic posited, the extremely glaring impact was in the education of children. Having their classroom restricted to a digital screen, they were bound to face multiple social challenges. Besides this, the impact of the pandemic and the multiple casualties that these young minds faced, made them extremely prone to numerous unidentified emotions.
In this regard, as things were restored to a ‘new normal and as students started returning to their classrooms, they faced multiple challenges. Thus, making them aware of their emotions and helping them make social connections takes a frontal seat.
What is Social and Emotional Learning?
SEL or Social and Emotional Learning aims to help students become aware of their emotions, name their feelings, and then deal with them holistically. This can be done through multiple methods like introducing meditation in the classroom, relaxation techniques, exercises, and journaling. The idea herein is to make students more mindful of their emotions. Educators can introduce the emotional vocabulary list in the classroom and help students give words to their emotions. Besides this, educators can also include activities like party games, what-if scenarios, and service projects, to enhance self-management skills, creativity and innovation, and inclusion among the students.
What is CASEL’s SEL?
The Collaborative for Academic Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL) defines five core social and emotional competencies: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making. Around them, one can find four key settings that help students learn and grow. These settings are communities, family and caregivers, schools, and classrooms.
SEL at Oakridge International School, Gachibowli
At Oakridge International School, Gachibowli, we aim to hone our students into becoming well-rounded individuals. This means that every student’s voice and choice matter to the core as a part of student agency which can never be compromised. We would proudly like to share about the initiative taken by Grade 2C students who displayed their understanding of SEL during the assembly which enlightened and reached a huge lot of audience. These young learners have projected the do’s and don’ts in the form of Bucket fillers and Bucket dippers for social and emotional well-being. Learners even connected to the simple basic high five things that lead to Social and Emotional well-being. During the assembly, they shared their personal experiences and a positive evolvement of their personality as a part of SEL. This assembly finally was very impressive and it was even presented to IB Diploma (Grade 11,12) wherein the learners/faculty from the IB DP segment connected to their personal experiences of social and emotional well-being sportively, encouraging the Grade 2 which was highly appreciated. This initiative was only a start and continues in the form of a working document as a progression in keeping the well-being of the entire school with a continuous effort from various supportive hands through reflection on a monthly basis.
We teach our learners to understand their emotions and help them tackle them in a healthy fashion. Different parts of the school community explicitly teach the young learners to understand “What are emotions/social skills, Work on social skills/ emotional skills, how to overcome bullying, manage complex and difficult situations, manage behavior/ stress /anxiety, understand the behavior and various ways for relaxation”. In this regard, we spread awareness of the importance and impact of SEL by conducting special assemblies, classroom bonding activities, and peer bonding activities across grades. This being a continual process, we make sure that SEL happens across every segment of the school and in every grade so that Oakridge transit into becoming not only academically successful but also socially and emotionally healthy.
Ms. Kalyani Talluri
Grade 2 HRT