Importance of Social Emotional Learning
Social Emotional Learning (SEL) is the recognition and management of emotions. It is developing care for others, making responsible decisions, establishing positive relationships, and handling challenging situations effectively. In short, SEL is teaching children how to deal with their behaviours and to build positive relationships with people around them.
Children need to be taught how to identify their feelings – anger, sadness, joy or anxiousness and also to consider how others feel. It is important for children to learn skills of empathy and the comprehension of these feelings to make healthy and responsible choices. For example, in school, children will need to learn how to effectively express their emotions and thoughts; they will have to consider and show care for their peers’ feelings and opinions to establish friendships and to work cooperatively together; they have to be able to know how to make responsible and considerate decisions. Research shows a strong link between SEL and student outcomes in the areas of mental well-being, character development, school success, career success and responsible citizenship.
Learning of such skills needs to start at home. The honing of these social and emotional skills will prepare children for school to equip them with the skills to manage stress, express thoughts and work harmoniously with classmates. From as early as pre-school years, parents may use techniques such as effective praising, circles time and use teachable moments. Parents could use role-modelling methods such as treating each other with kindness and respect. Parents could also impart social skills through pretend play activities where the children practise, for instance, thanking others for a favour or apologizing for a mistake. Through daily interaction with SEL, children will grow to become more confident and comfortable with their future social circles.
Here at Morning Star Community Services, we aspire to equip parents with the techniques and knowledge necessary to help build up and promote the emotional and social competence in their children through professional talks, evidence-based training programmes and more.
Article contributed by Anuwar (Manager, NOVA Learning Lab, Morning Star Community Services)