There are many stories that find no light in mainstream media; many books, movies, and pieces of art that will never be seen or appreciated, even less paid for. As a society, we choose the stories that are worth sharing and celebrating, and ignore the rest. In many cases, these unheard stories come from people who have been discriminated against because of their race, gender, social class, home language, ability, or sexual orientation amongst others. This prompts us to question—who is telling the story and who is in charge of the narrative.
In the classroom, educators can make space for every story so they can change, from the inside, the narrative that students carry with them when they go outside and interact with the world. You can do it by teaching with the HEART in Mind—honoring and celebrating students’ personal stories, and creating an environment where students feel connected and supported. When children and youth are able develop a sense of who they are, and explore the different aspects of their identity in a safe environment, they can learn more and better.
As you start the holiday celebrations, create this “container” for exploration, engagement, and connection with your students, making space for every child to tell their story and feel seen, heard and loved.
Wishing you a peaceful holiday season and a New Year filled with joy, curiosity and purpose.
The importance of supporting young children’s social and emotional growth in early learning settings, such as child care centers and preschools, is well established. It is part of their “core business”, something they do day in and day out. There is, however, an important aspect of SEL that is not considered part of this work—the need to support early childhood educators’ social and emotional capacity.
Last week, I was fortunate to spend time with a group of early childhood professionals at NAEYC’s annual conference in Nashville, TN. We discussed the importance of supporting the social and emotional skills of the adults that work with children, not only because they model these skills to students (intentionally or not), but also because you cannot teach what you don’t practice. We need to help educators build fluency with their own HEART skills first, so they are able to effectively help their students today and in the future. If you want to learn how, let me know.
During my time with these educators, I was reminded of the impact that collaboration and connection have on our wellbeing. It allows us to see and feel our shared humanity, an opportunity to show appreciation for our contributions and those of others. As I shared the HEART in Mind model, I felt (re)energized to continue building the social and emotional capacity of our learning communities, and grateful to have so many colleagues and collaborators doing the work that matters.
Wishing everyone a peaceful Thanksgiving holiday.
My oldest daughter came back from a field trip to the local water district ready to educate us about the many ways we can reduce water usage at home. She started noticing when a faucet was running unnecessarily and decided to use less water in her science experiments. She also started pointing out when her parents’ showers were too long! During the field trip, she developed a new awareness about the importance of water conservation, and decided to implement it at home. Her purpose is helping our family become more focused on reducing water usage. Read more
This week, I will be spending two days with colleagues and friends from around the world who deeply care about the social and emotional health of children, youth and adults. This is CASEL’s first conference, a great opportunity to celebrate the work that has been done to date, identify the current challenges, and make plans to grow this practicing community.
In addition to presenting research that I conducted with colleagues from the Learning Policy Institute, I look forward to connecting with the many people with whom I have collaborated over the years, and also meeting new colleagues. These relationships fill my bucket and strengthen my commitment to continue doing the work that matters. Read more
“What happened, Mom? What is going on?” My daughter asked the other night, while she climbed on a chair to look at my computer. I was staring at my laptop, looking at pictures of the destruction caused by hurricane Dorian in The Bahamas. I felt speechless. Miles and miles of destroyed homes, entire towns swapped away by the hurricane. According to CNN, 70,000 people lost almost everything, and thousands of survivors are still trying to escape the destroyed areas. Read more
Working with educators is probably the favorite part of my job. They are committed, passionate and courageous. They want to get better at teaching, because they care about their students’ wellbeing and success. They are a force for good. Read more
“I don’t have enough time to do everything that needs to be done.” The end of the school year is a busy and stressful time of year―for teachers, students and parents. Schedules are packed with deadlines, school activities and family events, leaving everybody feeling stressed and overwhelmed. According to research, our perceived time pressure is about how well the activities we need to perform fit together in our heads and how much control we think we have over them. This is good news, because it means we can do something about it! Check out this article from Greater Good Science Center, if you need some tips for handling time pressure. Read more