NOVA is All about Social-Emotional Regulation
Did you know that the “NOVA” in NOVA Learning Intervention Programme stands for “Nurturing One’s Valuable Attributes”? These valuable attributes refer to social-emotional skills, like managing anger, fear, sadness or self-esteem.
Why I decided to join NOVA
As a NOVA Facilitator in Morning Star Community Services, I work with primary school-aged children who struggle with social-emotional issues. I was first introduced to the social service sector when I worked with marginalised communities during my Diploma in Applied Drama and Psychology. I felt the call to work in this line when I visited a Boy’s Home to devise a forum theatre play about youths-at-risk. As I interacted with the boys from the Home, I was able to learn and understand that many of them lacked a proper support system to guide them through their early challenges in life. Through the devising of the play, I was better able to highlight the types of oppression and challenges that the boys from the Home faced. From there I decided to further pursue a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychological Science. The theories I learned have helped me better understand the behaviour of the children I work with now in NOVA and allow me to help them more effectively.
Coaching children in social-emotional learning
In the NOVA Learning Lab, I coach each child in developing their social-emotional skills, such as using strategies to help them calm down and respond to the situation in a better way. The regular ten minutes of Special Time with each child, during which the child can choose what they want to do, really helps the child open up to me, as they feel comfortable talking about what they are facing in school or at home and how they are feeling about it. It is a great opportunity for me to build a relationship with the children and to get to know more about their interests and fears or concerns, so that I can better support them.
The biggest challenge I face is when a child has outbursts of disruptive behaviour. One time, a child started to get aggressive with his peers and the NOVA Facilitators. The child was throwing items that he could get hold of and refused to listen to reasoning. When this happened, I was quite disheartened because it meant that the interventions that I had been working on with the child had not been effective for him. However, despite the setback, I resolved to give the child some time to cool down, and I hope to build further rapport with him one-to-one, so that trust is established and it will be easier for him to open up and listen to us, as we listen to him.
Without a doubt, the best part about my job is working with the children at NOVA. There is never a dull moment, because the children are so full of life and energy. I feel energised myself when I am with them. And at the end of the day, I am grateful for the reward of seeing the positive changes in each child.
Lim Ke Xin
Facilitator, NOVA Learning Intervention Programme
NOVA Learning Intervention Programme is a school-based programme that provides support to mainstream Primary 1 and 2 children with Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) difficulties. Learn more about NOVA Learning Intervention Programme here.
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