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.
Did you know that people who experience gratitude cope better with stress, recover more quickly from illness, and enjoy more robust physical health, including lower blood pressure and better immune function? Gratitude is the quality of being thankful, the readiness to show appreciation and return kindness to others. In the US, Thanksgiving is the holiday that celebrates gratitude and encourages us to be appreciative. Students and teachers may spend time together creating gratitude quilts, writing gratitude letters or sharing a gratitude meal (check out Stone Soup: a lesson in sharing). However, there is a lesser known form of gratitude that we often miss: gratitude for self. Read more
This year, many families in the US are feeling fearful or anxious about having political conversations during the Thanksgiving dinner. A time to show appreciation and gratitude towards loved ones may become sour if we affirm “our” experience and opinion, without considering the experience of others or how our comments might affect them. Ask yourself, how am I feeling? And (even if it is difficult) also ask, how are you feeling? Having an enjoyable Thanksgiving meal might require us to practice and model our best emotional intelligence skills! Read more
The days are getting longer, the weather is warmer… summer is almost here! For students, this means a few more weeks wrapping up final projects and for teachers, battling to keep students engaged while trying to finish their own final projects. At this point of the school year, everybody is plain done! With this in mind, what are some activities that teachers can do to finish the year on a high note? Read more