What is Social-Emotional Learning?
One of the key ways children learn and grow is through interactions with other people. They develop an understanding of themselves, other people, and the world at large by observing, interacting, and engaging. This area of growth is known as social-emotional learning, and it is very important to start developing it at an early age.
To learn more about ways to encourage social-emotional learning, check out this article from the Stretch-n-Grow blog!
Did you see that there are 5 areas of competence in social-emotional learning? Each one relates to the way a child sees themselves.
Let’s learn about the 5 areas of social-emotional learning, and a fun way to engage it every day:
- Self-Awareness: This aptitude relates to understanding one’s own emotions, feelings, character, and identity. It starts with knowing one’s likes and dislikes and evolves into understanding how to navigate all areas of what it means to be yourself.
- Activity: Show-n-Tell is a popular activity for preschool and elementary school activities for a reason. Relating an object of significance to others helps children process why something is important to them, as well as how to express those thoughts and feelings to others. Having a weekly family show-n-tell about what happened at school is a good way to encourage sharing and help children process their week, and how they feel about it. One of our favorite ways to engage self-awareness at Stretch-n-Grow is through sharing positive affirmations with our kids when they do a great job in an activity!
- Self-Management: This aptitude is the ability to control one’s behavior, thoughts, emotions, and words. Over time it is the way that people control the way they engage with others and events and is particularly helpful in stressful situations.
- Activity: If you’re looking to encourage physical self-management, using the tried-and-true Stretch-n-Grow approved activities of engaging fine motor skills by touching fingertip to fingertip or identifying parts of the body helps young ones become aware of their physicality and the space around them. For family game night, Jenga is a way to get kids thinking about how to temper their excitement, how to think strategically before acting, and how to control their small muscle movements. It is also a great way to spend time together playing a game that can be made competitive or non-competitive, depending on what is a healthier dynamic for your family.
- Social Awareness: When someone has the soft skills to see someone else’s perspective, navigate different cultural dynamics, and respond appropriately to various situations with other people, they have high social awareness.
- Activity: Taking the time to build volunteering into your family’s regular routine can increase social awareness by exposing children to new activities and the needs of others. It can start by helping puppies get adopted or picking up trash, and as children grow and mature, they can start to serve at a soup kitchen. Investing in others is an important part of developing awareness of others. With groups of kids, Stretch-n-Grow likes to engage kids in relay activities, where they must follow the leader, communicate, and work together.
- Relationship Skills: Understanding how to manage different kinds of relationships can be very important to navigating the world when little ones become adults, which is why starting to learn early is super important!
- Activity: Play can be a fun way to communicate potentially serious life lessons. We know at Stretch-n-Grow, communicating the rules in an upbeat manner helps the students learn about their coaches, how to interact with each other, and being respectful while having a good time. Putting on a home theatrical production is a great way to develop relationship skills. By having kids begin acting out new situations can help them learn passively how different people react and give parents an opportunity to explain the good and bad relationship skills in the story. It’s a great opportunity to get creative.
- Responsible Decision Making: When kids get the opportunity to make decisions, it builds their self-esteem and grows their confidence. When they make a decision that builds responsibility, it makes the adults in their life proud.
- Activity: Saving up for an exciting reward can be a fun group activity. A way to help kids see the pros and cons of decision making is to have different levels of decision making. Maybe ice cream money and the money that will pay for tickets to a theme park come out of the same jar. That way kids can see that getting ice cream every month makes it harder to save up to go to the park. Even with little ones, the simple decision of do you want a stamp or a sticker at the end of activities with our coaches helps them learn about keeping something long-term, like a sticker, or being okay with something temporary, like a stamp. Isn’t it amazing what little things can help develop our kids?